Category: spinning


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. 

Advertisements

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!

Dye Day

This morning was the day I had set aside this week for dyeing some wool batts. Most of them are 100% Corriedale, but there were a few mixed breed rovings I had made that I threw in different pots just to see what might happen. 

Small batch, hand processed and hand dyed Corriedale batts


I had learned a lot about dyeing here at my house today. Previously, I had thought I was just really bad at it. My colors were always muddy, or too pale.  I figured out today I just need more acid than normally called for in dyeing instructions.  1/2 tsp of citric acid does not get me the bright sharp colors im looking for; however, bump the citric acid up to 1 tsp and Wow! I am much happier, and looking forward to dyeing many more batts in the future. 

Love this Spicy Red and Amethyst rovings.

That was fast!

Boy, June went fast here in Oklahoma. So much happened here that there is no way I can catch you up in one post, so I thought I would start with a knitting post first!

I have been interested in knitting with beads for a long time, but it wasn’t until I found these beads at Hobby Lobby that I finally decided to try it.  Aren’t they pretty? I don’t know why, but I love this turqoise color, lately.  So I paired these beads with some handspun grey laceweight (the wool came from my sheep Ivy)  I like the way these two look together, but I wish the grey yarn was a different color. I am looking for advice on wether you can dye yarn that already has beads on it or not, and if it looks possible, I may try that.

These have been and interesting knit. I found a mitt I really liked, the Bronte mitt. However, it was written for a different gauge than I was getting, so I have just had to modify the pattern for the yarn I wanted to use. I had to completely rechart the lace cuff.  The cuff is the part that is on the needles in this picture, with the part with k4p2 ribbing is the part that actually goes on the hand. Once I finish the cuff, I will pick up the stitches from the provisional cast on, and then knit a little more lace up there. Then, after knitting a thumb, it will be done.  I am using the method of beading where I put the bead on a live stitch with a crochet hook, instead of threading all the beads on the yarn. I just thought that this yarn is too fragile for that rough of treatment.  So far, I have used about 2 and a half tubes of size 6 beads, (I counted, there are 328 beads on this mitt alone. ) I might have to go get more beads!

I have been doing other knitting. A co-worker of DH’s is having a baby, and so I knit this baby hat and burp cloth. I meant to knit a baby hat and booties, but ran out of yarn after I got the first bootie done. So I knit the burp cloth instead. I used Peaches and Cream yarn, in their new (to me?) stripes variety. I really enjoyed it. 4 episodes of lost and a movie off of Turner Classic Movies later, I had a burp cloth. It was very mellow knitting, and I think I’ll buy more and make dish cloths.

I’ll try and post pictures and news from my garden tomorrow. Boy, are things taking off in the garden! Hopefully we’ll have tomatoes soon!

Feather and Fan Shawl

Well I finally finished this shawl last night, after some marathon knitting, now that the air conditioning is on and it is too hot to venture outside except in the morning and evening.  I was afraid that this shawl was going to look like a semi-circular ugly couch afghan, but I have been pleasantly surprised, I love it!

This is the Marialis Shawl  from  Stahman’s Shawls and Scarves. the dark part at the top of the shawl was from a recycled sweater, as was the grey at the bottom of the shawl, but all of the different colors in the stripes is my own hand dyed,  handspun yarn.  I have no idea what yardage is in this, but it’s a lot, towards the end, I could go all the way across one row and back in the time it took to watch a movie.  I can’t wait until this fall and winter, when it is cool enough to wear this shawl!

 

New Adventures

Isn’t she pretty? (Okay, the color in this one is a little off.  She isn’t really green)

Her name is Tinkerbell.  I had to completely veto anything having to do with snow, including, snowball, snowflake, snowstorm and Winter Wonderland.

 

 

 

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and found a lot to be thankful for. We certainly are blessed in this country,  and it is good to reflect on all the blessings that the Lord has given us.  The Lord used Thanksgiving this year to do a work on my heart, and while I don’t want  write about it on the blog, I just wanted to say that He is so faithful and true.  Just like our earthly parents, He has to correct us when we are wrong, but I don’t ever remember feeling blessed when Mom and Dad corrected me!  Somehow, His corrections leave me feeling happy and new, instead of angry or sad, and I am really thankful for that.

I have got the spinning bug recently. I think it is because I am thinking of all the things I am going to get to teach my new friend from the area.  It makes me want to dig out the drum carder and the dye pots. But I had that llama already on the wheel, so I finished spinning that up first.  Ever since I have started spinning I have heard that llama isn’t really good for spinning, because it is so rough, and maybe that is so, there does seem to be a lot of gaurd hair in this. However these singles are soooooo soft. 

 The problem is, I can’t decide what to do with them next. Ply them for knitting yarn, or wind them off for singles in case I get a  loom  sometime in the future?  I want to do something spectacular with them, as this is the roving that I bought at Market Street Yarn and Crafts when I was on vacation. I want to make something as memorable as the vacation was.  I think I will probably just wind them off for now, and set them as singles. That will give me an idea of the yardage as singles, and maybe I can decide what to do then. I wish I knew more about weaving, so I would know what kind of yardage I would need for a decent size project.

llama-spun-singles.jpg

As it is, Chad and I are going to get the drum carder and some wool out of storage this evening, I am going to dig out my copy of Spinning in Color, and I am going to start planning another project.

I finished my brother Bruces socks.  Jessica, if you are reading this, send me your address!! I don’t know where to send the socks, so I am going to put them up for now. I think I missed deer season for him anyway.  He’ll have them next year though, right?  I also finished my fingerless mitts.  Regardless of the fact that everytime I start I pair of mitts I say they are for me and I am not giving them away, I gave them to Sean. They were just too big on me, for some reason. They sure were pretty though. Sean likes them, they fit him fine. He probably needed them worse than I did anyway. 

I need to make a pairof fingerless mitts for the piano player at church.  Due to the high cost of heating oil at the church, they are not turning the heat on in the building until Sunday morning (instead of Saturday night) and it is sooo cold in there during the services.  I was practicing on the piano on day when the kids and I were cleaning, and my hands felt like they had been submerged in ice water.  She definitely needs a pair of fingerless mittens.  She wants blue though, which means I have so dye some yarn.  Luckily, I found a brand new (still had tags on it) 100% cream colored mens V neck golf sweater at the thrift store two weeks ago, and I have already unraveled it for the yarn. That means I just have to get the dye pots out!

Small Goals

I haven’t spoken about Weight Watchers recently. I’m still doing the program, but things have slowed down a lot in the weight loss department.  I haven’t given up though, and Tuesday, on my one year Weight Watchers anniversary, I met a goal that is a step to me finally meeting my entire goal.  At this point, I have lost 76 lbs, according to their scale. ( my scale has dropped a little more since Tuesday. According to my scale, I now weight 190! Woot!)  And I got my 75 lb star and a new reward, a 75 lb medal that goes on my 10% key chain.

 crop1.jpg

So, I guess in celebration of that, I am going to do something I don’t think I  have ever done on this blog.  Always before, I was too embaressed by how awful I looked to post a picture of myself. Although I still have a long way to go, I am proud of how far I’ve come. 

So, me, in the finished Mobius Shawl. Chad took the pictures, I was just the director.

moebius-shawl-crp.jpg

Moebius Shawl pattern from Drops Studio, knit from my handspun, handyed yarn.  I modified the pattern by knitting it in garter stitch. I knit five ridges of garter stitch, a row of yo, K2together, a row knit plain, and then another row of YO, K2 together.

moebius-c-2.jpg

I love this shawl. I need to find a top to wear with it, none of the tops I have is quite right. It has a beautiful drape, beautiful color, and it is fuzzy and soft. I can loop it twice around my neck and wear it as a hood/scarf, or around my shoulders. I just love everything about it, and I think it was the perfect pattern to showcase this yarn.  I seriously can not think of a single other thing I have ever knit that I love as much as this shawl.  And I have knit a LOT of things, things more complicated and costly than this project. I think it is just because it all came together so perfectly.

Well, I finished the mitts for my weight watchers leader. I really like the way they came out.  I like them layered, and I like both sets of fingerless mitts on their own, but I’m really glad they are done.

three-way-fingerless-mitts-bl.jpg

The yarn for the turqoise mitts is something I spun myself, and dyed with a mixture of turqoise, and bronze Cushings dyes.  While I was spinning it I kept thinking I wanted it to be a thicker yarn, but sometimes the roving has a mind of it’s own, and I ended up knitting them on size 1 needles, over 64 stitches.  They are fairly thin, and very decorative, but I don’t think they would be overly warm.  Which is why I ended up knitting the second pair out of Lion Brand Fishermens yarn to layer under them if Jean needed more warmth. Of course both pairs can be worn on their own, and look pretty good on their own as well.

Next on the list is to finish some spinning before we go on vacation, and then I think I am starting a pair of socks. I think I am going to knit them from the top down instead of from the toe up though, because I am having a lot of problems getting toe up socks to fit lately. And I am going to need a couple of pairs of socks before fall and winter get here.  And as sick as I am of knitting fingerless mittens, I am going to need a pair of those before fall gets here as well.  Plus I owe mom a cardigan. I have so much to do! Thankfully my Ravelry invite arrived last week, and I don’t think I am ever again be at a loss for inspiration!

%d bloggers like this: