Category: yarn


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. 

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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!

dean street hat

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This winter was hard on me. We had two weeks of snow and really cold temperatures. My kids really wanted to spend time out there building forts and snowmen, and throwing snowballs. THey were hindered in their pursuits by the fact that, although their mother knits almost constantly…they had no mittens, no warm hats, no thick scarves. I was mortified! I decided that next year, that is not going to happen again.

So this week, while I was laid up, I knit the first hat for the “My kids WILL be dressed appropriately for winter” box. Ryan’s mittens are already in there, and I have started mittens for Chad. I have poured over patterns on Ravelry looking for appropriate hats, but I wanted to knit my second Dean Street Hat in the leftover Dream in Color Classy I had left. This is a very quick knit, good TV knitting I watched the entire first season of Downton Abbey while I knit this, and enjoyed every minute of it.

This is the Happy Feet color. It seemed appropriate to knit with it the week of St, Patrick’s day!

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Im not sure who will get the hat, although Reagan modeled for me as usual. I just know I’m making enough that they can pick and choose what they want to wear. Except Reagan will have to have smaller mittens than the boys.

samples

A little while back I joined a Palette co-op. A lady from the knit picks group on Ravelry would order all 100 colors of Palette yarn, and then would wind off 20 lengths from each color, label each little ball, then send each participant their own collection of 5 yard balls of each 100 colors. I would love to have a whole ball of each 100 colors, but even at Palettes reasonable price, can’t afford that at the moment. This will let me pick colors for Fair Isle and Lace work, without having to guess at how the colors on my monitor will look in real life. I don’t have any idea how I will organize them yet, but I am having a lot of fun just playing with the little bundles of color for now.

The Horror!!!

The day after posting the pictures and details for my finished pair of feather and fan socks, I left the socks on the kitchen table while Reagan and I went out to play in the pool.   The dogs aren’t real happy when we leave them in the house while we go to the pool. It is a situation that they have to endure because even though we live on a dirt road out in the middle of no where, I don’t want them to get hit by a car. There is a lot of traffic out here sometimes for a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

So we come back in the house, and this is what I found.

Livid and ballistic does not begin to describe how I felt when I found these socks on the floor and chewed in what I can only assume is revenge for the fact that I left the little monster in the house to protect him instead of letting him run wild to meet his death under the wheels of a car.  His boy was also away at Boy Scout camp, so maybe the two things together made him crazy, I don’t know.  He’s lucky to still be alive.  He had to climb up on a chair to reach the table to get at them. They were folded up into a ball, and the dogs love to chase balls, so maybe he thought it was a ball left there just for him.

That’s just one sock. I thought the other sock was okay and was just going to take this one apart and reknit it with the salvegable yarn and the leftover yarn from the skein.  Then I looked at the other sock, and there was a hole in the toe!!  SO now the socks have been completely unraveled,(kind of like my nerves when I found them chewed to peices on the floor) and are awaiting some future time when I can look at the yarn without wanting to throw up. Then I will knit them into another pair of socks or something, maybe using a contrast color for the heel and toe to compensate for the yarn I lost in the destruction.

In the meantime, I am knitting another pair of socks using the Houdini pattern from the Twist Collective, in some Heart and Sole yarn (a red heart brand, but nice, I like it!). I think the new technique will keep me knitting, right now I am slogging away on the first foot print. It makes great knitting to read by, I just put my book with the top of the pages under my knitting basket, and start reading and knitting. Usually by the time I have completed a round, it’s time to turn the page.

I am also doing some swatching for a Shetland Lace stole of my own design, out of some beautiful 100% 2 ply cashmere(!) I got the cashmere yarn by unraveling a knit skirt that I found at the thrift store, purchased for $2. How’s that for thrift.  Unravelled, the first half of the skirt left me with 795 yards of lace weight yarn, so once the other half is unravelled,  that should be enough for a rectangular stole. I wanted to knit the Forest Path Stole, but there just isn’t enough yarn.  I’ll be on the look out at the thrift store for a larger skirt!!  I figure that a rectangular shawl will (maybe) take less yarn than a square shawl, although I guess I could do a triangular shawl. I just don’t like triangular shawls much, unless they are in the Faroese style. They just don’t stay on as well.

Pictures of those things later!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Recycling sweaters…
If you check the inside of a sweater, you can tell if it has been cut from a big peice of knitted material and the edges serged to keep it from unraveling, or if it was first knit as peices and then sewn together. If it was knit as peices, it is a candidate for unraveling. My other requirement is that it be made from natural fibers, although I probably wouldn’t unravel a cotton sweater. I just don’t like knitting with cotton that much.
So, I found four sweaters: the one I felted and three others…

The “picture” sweater was knit from two strands of shetland wool yarn held together. You can’t see it in this picture, but it has blue and red and other fibers blended together in the dark yarn. So far, I have unraveled both sleeves. Just from the sleeves I got 80 yards of double stranded white, and 240 yards of the dark. This sweater is very slow going because before it can be unraveled, you have to pick out all the embroidery that was done on top of the knitting. I probably will not be unraveling the front, which has so much embroidery I would probably lose my mind trying to get it all off. Plans right now are to cut it into a square, back it with blue jean material, and make a holiday pillow out of the front and to unravel the back.

The cream colored yarn on the right is a combination of 55% silk, 33% nylon, 10%angora and 3% lambswool. It is absolutely the softest yarn! It has a lovely nubbly texture, the angora halo, and I am pretty sure if I decide to dye it, it will take dye beautifully. I have no idea how many yards I have, but I got over 200 yards on the first sleeve alone. I think this is what I am going to knit that smoke ring that I have been wanting to knit out of.

The red yarn has no sweater with it because I completely unraveled it on Wednesday night. It was just a plain knit pullover sweater, made from lambswool and angora. I got roughly 110 yards from each sleeve, and I forget how much from the back and front, I’ll have to check later. This is probably going to be over dyed, the red is a little much for me. All in all, a good haul for sweaters that cost me 2 dollars each. It was really a lot of fun to “unknit” something for a change.

In other news, I finished the fronts for the aran cardigan last night!! Yeah! Then, after laying out the fronts, I discovered that I had made a huge mistake. I shaped the wrong sides of the fronts, so the cables were not going to meet up at the shoulders. For a moment, I debated cutting up the whole sweater into teeny tiny peices of fluff. Then I decided that instead, I will just knit saddles for the top of each arm, and hopefully the break at the top of the arm will trick the eye into not noticing the mistake. I am just too sick of this sweater to consider ripping the fronts back and starting again. Besides, I’ve always wanted to knit a sweater with saddles at the top of the shoulder, it’ll be fun, right?

After receiving the latest issure of SpinOff in the mail, I had to drag out the knitting machine and try my hand at knitting up blanks and dyeing them. Let me tell you, it is much easier to dye a knitted blank than to wind yarn into a huge skein and then dye it for self striping yarn. I was really pleased with the colors in this, but I need a much bigger workspace to really get into this. A large peice of foam insulation would be great, I think. Anyway, I am planning on doing more of this in the future, in better colors, and hope to have some for sale, as soon as the programmer extroidenaire finishes her website or I figure out Etsy, whichever comes first, LOL.

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