Friday, February 26, 2010

I LOVE SPINNING! or Reflections on Past Lives

Ok, so what have I learned about spinning in the last few days? Well, in order to get proficient, it's important to spin some every day, or almost everyday. I think maybe there is only one day that I haven't spun in the last 7. The more I spin, the more even my yarn becomes, as is witnessed with the yarn that I am calling my Easter egg yarn because I dyed the roving in Easter egg colors. The yarn spins up nicely in pastels, as in the picture, and them knits up nice too. The project is my first ever knitted tam and I have been knitting it while watching the Olympics in the evening . I have kept the yarn at a pretty even weight most of the time, around a heavy worsted or aran weight. There are still some thinnish spots now and again but I have gotten much better over the last week. I should be almost done with the tam except I have also been making my wool combs over the last couple of evenings too. I have the holes drilled and the nails epoxied in place but unfortunately cannot find the hand saw to finish them off. I'll go over to my son's house tomorrow and use his. I found a couple of videos on youtube that I wish I had watched before I started making them; I might have bought some different wood to use. It's ok though; these will work. Then of course, I have been dyeing some of the Corriedale I got a couple of weeks ago so that I can comb it as soon as my combs are ready. I only need a small amount of each color so I can crochet one of those long striped scarves.
So all this fiber stuff has gotten me thinking about the past life business just a tad, and wondering if there is something to it all. There are a couple of reasons why; one is the whole thing of how I am drawn to this stuff and I seem to be able to be adequate at all of it pretty quickly. Maybe in my past life/lives I did all this and I have brought it forward with me. I mean, there is no reason for me to have to prepare fiber and then make my own yarn. Although a lot of women are so that in and of itself maybe doesn't mean anything. But the kicker is that I've always been interested in this stuff. When I was 3 or so I demanded and got a toy spinning wheel. It was a little brown plastic thing that didn't really work but I would transfer yarn from one part of it to another by spinning the wheel. I don't remember if it had a treadle or not, but I'm guessing it did. My earliest memory is sitting in the driveway sewing old dish rags together with yarn and a huge needle., again at the age of 3ish or maybe a bit younger. So do we surround ourselves with those things that we are familiar with from previous lives? It would explain why I am so comfortable with the domestic arts. Or is there something else that draws me to the past and the home crafts that were practiced long ago? I don't know that a person is drawn to a love of history and the old ways of doing things at such a young age. I mean, I don't remember if I would have even seen a spinning wheel by the time I was 3, let alone someone actually using it. Anyway, these are things that have entered my mind lately that make me wonder.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rainbow Hat

So this is the second project from my hand spun. I dyed the roving in a rainbow of color, and then knit the hat yesterday in a simple k2 p2 rib. My yarn is still not totally even but it's better than it was and I have some more roving that I've dyed in more Easter egg colors and will start spinning today. I found a cute tam pattern that I want to try with it. I've also been reorganizing my Etsy store a bit, and I crocheted a lacy beret out of some acrylic I have here as well as a couple sets of coasters that I am going to list today. Plus I had some bits of leftover fibers sitting around from drop spindle projects, so I went ahead and spun those up too in the last week. I saw a scarf that was crocheted in stripes using all hand spun yarns; every strip was a different color so I need an ounce or so of 7 or 8 bright colors. I might do some dyeing in small amounts today. I still havent made my wool combs either, but maybe I can do that this evening.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Hat!

Ok, here's my first hat made from wool that I dyed and then spun and then knitted. I'll admit that my spinning technique needs a bit more work, my yarn isn't really even yet. There are too many thin/thick spots, but it wasn't bad for an early effort. John was suitably impressed when I showed him and he isn't usually impressed by my handiwork; he's seen way too much of it. Anyway I am pleased with the results and want to start spinning for my next project.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fun With Fiber

I got a package in the mail yesterday! Three lbs of Corriedale fleece which I started washing up today. It is so soft and long when it's washed. I only did a little because I am still working on reorganizing the basement. I found time to spin up the yellow, aqua and white roving I dyed though, and it came out very nice. I am having a problem with too much twist which I read is common with beginners. The solution(s) seem to be 1. Treadle slower and 2. Spin the spun yarn counterclockwise to take some of the twist out. I tried the second with some yarn I had spun and it seems to work although it's more work to have to respin off the bobbin. I left it on my lazy kate and the just spun to a new bobbin on the wheel. I was treadling slower today and there was some yarn that didn't get enough twist into it although that's easy to fix too. Anyway, I am going to knit a hat with my first skein even though it has too much twist. And I'm going to try and concentrate on getting an even yarn and not worry about twist too much. I also found instructions on how to make wool combs online. Since the cheapest ones I've found are $99, this is way better. I'm going out to Lowes tomorrow and get the materials.
While I was cleaning the corner where my rugmaking wool is I came across some roving I dyed maybe 3 years ago and was going to spin on the drop spindle but didn't. So I spun up some of that too, and it turned out pretty nice. I have at least 3 ozs of it, maybe a bit more and it will make a nice hat or maybe fingerless gloves.
I made a hat yesterday to match some fingerless gloves that are in my Etsy store. I used the leftover yarn from the gloves and then some dark green from another project. It turned out very nice; perfect for St Pattys Day. If it doesn't sell I might wear it and the gloves myself. I haven't taken any pics yet but I will.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finally I Can Post Pics!

Ms Kiwi and yarn!

No Pictures!

I had a nasty computer virus that John had to fix for me. He ended up reformatting and now I can't upload pictures! I don't know what the problem is but he has to hook me up to the network anyway so he said he'd fix it then. I have pics of my new wheel to post! And of the yarn I spun. There's a bit too much twist to it so I need to work on that. I'm going to have to tear myself away from spinning and work on the basement some more today; I've made a big dent in the unorganization and I would really like to keep it up. I got really sick last week when I first started cleaning; I had a nasty allergic reaction that turned into a respiratory thing that lasted almost a week. I got a mask at Target and I'm going to wear that today.

We had about 8 inches of snow or so between yesterday and today. It snowed yesterday on and off all day but not really hard, but then last night when John and I went to pick Sio up from school it really started coming down. And then this morning apparently we had an earthquake although I didn't feel anything. It was 4.something on the Richter scale. We had one not that long ago, too, maybe a year or two. It's kind of weird; we never used to get them. I guess New York is really getting snow today; I think Melissa is going to work from home.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

First Kettle Dyeing Attempt

Well I gave kettle dyeing a try this morning after reading what I could find on line, and I'd say the results were so-so. I used Cushings dyes because I have a lot of them in different colors and I have all my dyeing equiptment already. I pre-wetted the roving so it was squishy wet but there was no water on top of it in the pot. Then I mixed and poured on the dyes. I used sky blue, green and canary. I was a bit afraid of the dyes running together on the bottom and making mud, so I didn't use as much dye as I should have. Next time I'll use at least a third more than I did this time. Some of the colors must have seperated in the dyes and run together because I got some purple spots. Maybe there's a little red in the canary yellow and it mixed with the sky blue. But there are some pretty big white spots and I want to avoid that next time. I saw one tutorial where the person added each dye individually and then waited for it to be absorbed before she added the next. That might work better. Another thing I should have done was squish the dye into the roving more before I put the pot on the stove; I'm sure I would have gotten better results. Anyway, after all the dyes were poured on I brought the pot up to steaming without letting it boil and then left it for about half an hour. The dye was exhausted by that point so I went ahead and dumped it all into the sink, rinsed it well and then hung it in the bathroom to dry. All in all it was a learning experience, and I'm sure it will be dry and ready to go as soon as the wheel gets here on Monday.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

To Dye Or Not To Dye

....Ok, who am I fooling? I got a pound of this nice corriedale roving that shipped separately from my wheel. The roving came by mail and the wheel is being shipped UPS and will probably be here on Monday or Tuesday. Anyway, I can't see that the roving will be the same color as it is now when the wheel gets here. I'm going to look for a kettle dyeing tutorial because I love the way the kettle dyed rovings look. I figure that 4 ozs of dyed roving will make enough yarn for a hat for sure. In the spirit of going to see Great Big Sea next month I might dye my first batch pink and green and leave some white spaces. Or maybe not. It will depend on what hits me at the time. I will take pics and post them though.

I'm also posting pics of the cabled scarf which is really really easy. Anybody who wants to learn to cable would be fine with this scarf. I can take this with me anywhere and not screw it up, even over to mom's where it is really really hard to concentrate on anything. I tried my first fair isle hat over there and had to give it up because it's so distracting trying to follow directions. But this scarf is fine, and I think it's turning out nice. It's definitely a winter scarf though, the yarn is heavy for a worsted and really warm.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Cabled Scarf and Wheel Stuff

I ordered my wheel yesterday and it shipped today! I'm hoping it gets here on Saturday but it might not be til Monday or Tuesday. I am really excited and I can't wait til it gets here! It comes with a lb of fiber and extra bobbins too, so I can get started right away. Plus I have a lot of fiber here already.

I started a cabled scarf yesterday and am about 1/5th of the way through I'd say. I am using Yarn Bees Rainbow Wool in Maritime, which is variegated blues. I really like this yarn, I made a shawl from it last fall. I bought one ball and realized i would need more so i bought the last one Hobby Lobby had today. I hope it's enough; I can't imagine a scarf would take more than 2 balls of yarn unless i decide to make it super long or something. I'll post pics later on when I take some.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Lots of Fibery Things

Ok, well here are two hats I made in the last 4 or 5 days. The first one is a basic hat with a k2p2 ribbing that I knit using Universal yarn's Classic Worsted Tapestry yarn. It was leftover from the mittens I made for Siobhan last fall. I made a hat last year using the same yarn in a different color; I just love the way it knits up. It's an acrylic/wool blend. The second hat has a very simple lace edge. It came out ok, except I should have used a dk weight instead of worsted because the lace pattern doesn't show up that well. I have a bunch of Hobby Lobbys I Love This Yarn that I was going to use for an afghan that didn't happen, so I used some of it for this hat. I think I'm going to make it again. Tha pattern is from Headhuggers:
Siobhan and I couldn't contain ourselves and we bought some yarn over the weekend. We went to String Theory which is a knitting shop in Glen Ellyn because I couldn't find a size 8 16 inch circular anywhere else. I also bought a size 7 16 inch circular and Siobhan got a ball of chunky single ply black yarn that I can't remember the brand of. I have to say that if what you're looking for is fancy yarn String Theory is a nice place. If you're looking for more basic workhorse yarns, like Lambs Pride worsted for example, they just don't carry them. That being the case I bought some yarn at Hobby Lobby a ball of Yarn Bees Rainbow Wool which I was planning on using for a cabled hat but I might go back and get another ball and make a cabled scarf instead. I also want to practice Fair Isle some more and I found a hat that uses 3 colors. I had some cream at home, I'm using the green for most of the hat and the purple variegated and cream for the Fair Isle part.
I also got my new cards and I have a lot of wool carded, but I still have a lot more to wash and card. I have a big basket of wool ready to be spun. I am going to do some dyeing today I think; I saw some really nice roving on E-bay so I think I'm going to try and get the same look with the roving I've prepared. There were 3 colors that were put together and them there was a picture of what it looked like spun up. I wish I had a scale. I am also ordering my wheel today as soon as John gets home. I have checked everything i possibly can and I am going with Ashfords Kiwi. It's just the best value for a beginner spinner like me.
Sio and I went shopping yesterday which was fun. We had lunch and I got a new pair of jeans which I really needed. I also got a top on clearance, some earrings and a bunch of bangles on sale and Sio and I went into Payless where we got sucked into the buy 1 get 1 at half price. So we both got new shoes. I really liked mine so I put them on right away and wore them until I stepped into a crack in the parking lot at Jewel and twisted my foot which still hurts a bit this morning. I guess that's what I get for being vain about my new shoes.