Year Long Spin-Along

Ply Magazine, to celebrate their first book, is going to be hosting a Year-Long Spin-Along.  51 Weeks of chances to win  a year-long subscription to their magazine.  Being honest with myself, I cannot express how very happy I am that I pre-ordered this book before I even knew about the contest.  Now I get to participate, you can without purchase, follow along, and I saved $4 off of the cover price, lol.  This brings my thrifty heart a great deal of joy.  More importantly than all of that, this will bring 51 weeks of challenges to one extent or another.  The first few are easy enough, but I hope I will be able to get to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year so I can pick up some supplies for a few of the challenges.  Spinning a dual coated sheep will be interesting, but I have to find a source for the outer coat, a source for the inner coat, and a source where I can buy both coats mixed together.  Likewise with the lock spinning, I can find them, but my thrifty soul has issues with spending $10+ on an ounce of locks (very pretty locks don’t get me wrong) then another $5+ for shipping and handling.  If I can get a good price on some pretty locks at the festival then go me.  If I cannot get there this year, that is up in the air and I’ll blog when I know, then I’ll have to suck it up and find some good sales.

Had to share the excitement!  Happy Crafting!

Never Content

I swear I am not going to be happy until I drive my mother completely around the bend.  I went to a quilt trunk show, the quilts that this woman produced were remarkable, beautiful, intricate, and so amazing!   The most remarkable fact, she Hand-Stitched every one of them!  Well, from what I understand she hand stitched the front, back, and the pieces on the ends (they are called something I cannot remember right now) and then someone else did the machine quilting in the middle that has the top, batting, and bottom holding together.

Now I admit, I have dabbled at sewing every now and then.  My Grandmother  was an amazing seamstress, and could sew about anything you can think of.  My experiences with my sewing machine has always been, “Push gently down on the pedal, no a little more, a little more, now you’re sewing at 120 MPH. Now your line looks like there was an earthquake, what are you going to do?”  Right about then, I give up.

My only real consolation, and there isn’t much of it, is that Mom cannot even get that far.  However, I now have hope.  I freely admit, I want to be able to do anything and everything.  However, I know that isn’t a realistic goal, that will not stop me from trying.  On that note, and with some wonderful encouragement from the woman displaying her quilts, I am going to give hand quilting a try.  I think I have the concept of the rocking stitch down. I know how I want to start sewing the squares to minimize waste, I even know how I want to cut the squares.  Right now it is just a matter of getting a couple of supplies and giving it a shot!

While I am getting the guts up to try my hand at this, I have decided to try weaving some spring towels for Mom out of 8/2 cotton.  Three spring colors and a cheerful variegated.  I have the warp wound and about 25% of the reed threaded.  One good Nap on Mom’s Part and I should be able to finish threading the reed and start on the heddles, LOL.  I have  few days off here and there throughout the month in addition to my one day off that I usually have so the extra time can be partially spent toward crafting.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Weaving Tools

This is a brief article to promote the free pdf guide to weaving tools.  I thought that the article, though I really recommend the PDF as well, was thought provoking.

The author, Interweave Editorial Staff, I guess they know who wrote it, begins with an interaction they had with a very enthusiastic “Earth-Mother” Type.  *I like to think of them as the Simplicities.*  Those that eschew any tools that are above the bare bones basic.  Those that say “I didn’t buy a Niddy Noddy, I just use my foot.” Or “I’ll never buy a wheel, why waste the money when I can just spin with a stick.”  Or, “There isn’t any need to buy a big loom, I can do anything I need with Backstrap Weaving!”  (Okay, the last is an exaggeration but you get the idea.) *

So the author is being lectured about how tools can be very simple and don’t have to be complicated, then they ask the killer question.  Why?  Why would you want to stick with the simple tools when there are more sophisticated tools out there?  *Not that we should all go out and buy a Golding Loom, though that would be pretty neat.* If there are tools out there that help you be a better crafter, and let you get the results you need, then take advantage of them.

*If you have foot, ankle, knee, joint issues, and want to spin then either a drop spindle or an electric wheel might be better for you.  If you have rotary cuff problems then you probably don’t want to mess with a drop or supported spindle too much but a nice wheel or electric wheel might do the trick.  For weaving, if you have knee, etc. problems then a floor loom with treadles that you have to push down might not be the thing for you, a table loom where you can just flick a switch and the shafts respond might work.  If you have shoulder issues then a backstrap, inkle, or perhaps rigid heddle loom might do you more good than a table or floor loom.  (I”m not an expert, this is just some advice, for more information contact a guild, health professional, or support group.)

If you just HAVE to try everything in existence out, (and  can afford it) then go for it.  Honestly you don’t know if something works for you unless you try it out.*

This synopsis is almost longer than the article.  But, in conclusion, don’t let anyone shame you.  There is NO Cheating in crafting.  Even if you haven’t shorn the sheep, washed, processed, and dyed the wool, then spun it, finished it, wove it, cut the cloth, and sewn the shirt, your project is still handmade no matter which step you started your process on and no matter what tools you had to utilize.

Happy Crafting!

Have a Very Crafty New Year

Right now my New Year looks to be full of crafts.

Almost every week I will be teaching a craft class at my public library.  They will cover a wide variety of topics from spinning yarn, weaving, making bath bombs, and much more.  I am really looking forward to these Monday’s.

In addition to this, my mother has decided that I need to needle felt a nativity for next year.  I’ve tried to explain that I’ll have to do one animal a month or some similar method to that, she is adamant so assembling the fibers for this project is next.

This year, my crafting goals are a little different.  I hope to work on assembling a collection of types of spindles from around the world.  This should be a ton of fun, and I am really looking forward to discovering how to use all of these different spindles.  In addition to my spindle and spinning exploration (and my new felting projects) I hope to advance my weaving skills in the new year.  With the Nativity I am now going to felt, I was thinking about seeing if it is viable to weave the camel coverings in bright and beautiful colors.  I do not intend for this to be anything too fancy, but I do plan on making several variations and enjoying the process.

The first step in my new year of crafting, in addition to buying the wool I need, is to cut off all of my old warps (since I wasn’t weaving them anyway) and starting fresh in the new year!

Happy Crafting All!

Spinzilla 2017


I had a ton of fun spinning for Spinzilla 2017!  I managed to spin 1.27 miles of yarn, this includes the singles and then the ‘ply credit’.  I am very pleased with the yarn I managed to spin, though I am disappointed that I could not get my WooleeWinder working right for spinzilla.

However the creator and owner of the company promised he would look at my WooleeWinder and see if he could figure out what is making it rattle so badly.  I just have to send my device to him, lol.  Haven’t gotten around to that yet.

I cannot wait until I have these skeins washed and ready to work with.  One of my greatest fears has been ‘ruining’ my handspun by knitting or crocheting or weaving the ‘wrong’ pattern with them.  Now after almost 2 years of spinning…I’d better do something with my handspun pretty soon, lol.  I have a 3 drawer plastic storage unit full of handspun yarn, and I love all of  it!

Recently I took the dive and purchased the pattern for the beekeeper’s quilt, and just love how simple the hexipuffs are to create.  I made 3 out of a self striping ball of commercial sock yarn, this brought about the delusion that I want to knit socks which is another problem on the horizon, then last night I took the plunge.  I knit a Hexipuff out of my handspun.  I love my little hexipuff and cannot wait to make more.  While I’m not sure I”ll make the 300+ it takes to create a quilt, I do think that these hexipuff’s might become my new  Granny Square.  My new go-to, quick to finish, project.

TIP:  I use the tip of my left index finger to push my needle through the yarn when knitting.  The tip of the needle is a little bit pointed, but not enough to stab me…However…repeated pushing allowed my skin, probably dry, to split along the natural whorls in my fingertip.  While it never bled, it did hurt a bit.  I realized that I would have to use something to prevent this from happening, and thought of a thimble.  Unfortunately I cannot feel anything through the thimble so that didn’t work.  Then I thought of some of those stick on thimble things I had seen…it turns out they’re a little expensive.  Fortunately during my search I turned up a tip, a Bandage.  Just a simple bandage, can get about 30 for $1 at a dollar store, is enough padding to keep the needle from splitting my skin.  YAY I Can Knit Again!

Happy Crafting!

My Crafting Summer

This summer was a ton of fun, I really enjoy reflecting on it.  The classes I taught caused the months to fly by, I cannot believe it is over.  I did manage to get a bit of my own crafting done, though not that much really.

I managed to weave my first two towels, and hem them.  They turned out a bit smaller than I had hoped, but I have learned a lot for the next set I weave.  I wove my first basket in over a decade, when I was working at my first public library they offered a basket weaving class and I became addicted.  They are so much fun and the structures are amazing.

The Buffalo Weavers Guild sold off a few of their items, I managed to score a triangle loom and a 4 shaft table loom for well less than the triangle loom would have cost normally.  I don’t have the table loom pictured, but it really is neat.  I picked up a stainless steel reed for it and cannot wait to try it out.  You can see my first project up on the triangle loom, it turned out really ‘sleezy’ the yarn was too thin for the distance between the nails.  I know better for my next try.

Last, but not least, are a pair of Dodec Wheels I purchased from their creator online.  They are an adorable pair of wheels that I am trying to not despise with every fiber of my being.  I do realize that I just need to take my time, get to know them, and I will probably come to love them too.  It is just so hard when I have Lady, my Schacht Ladybug, sitting there waiting for me to spin beautiful yarn in any thickness I want so very quickly.  Patience is a virtue that I need to learn when it comes to my crafting.

Speaking of which, I loved my WooleeWinder at first, then things started going ‘rattle, clank, clack’ and now I’m about ready to tear my hair out.  Instead of this I am going to send it back to the manufacturer and see if he can fix it up.  ‘Fingers Crossed’.

That is my summer in a nutshell.  Fall Crafting, Here I Come!

Happy Crafting!

My New Drum Carder

My drum carder came!  My Brother Drum Carder finally arrived, and it is all ready to go!  As you can see from my ‘unboxing’ pictures my Brother Drum Carder arrived assembled and ready to go with instructions in a lovely plastic pouch.  The intake drum and larger drum are at the right depth, though there are detailed instructions for how to change that depth if needed.  I will admit I followed directions from another website, I cannot find them again to give them credit, and did some sanding.  I took an emery board and ran it in all directions across both drums of my carder, this was supposed to take out any little burrs left by the manufacturing process.  The emery boards were all chewed up at the end of the process so I hope it worked.  The carder itself works like a dream, but it really is a good idea to be up on your tetanus shot before working with something like this.

I am having an absolute blast playing with my new drum carder.  I am experimenting with corriedale, merino, and some other colored wools.  I will post later today or tomorrow about my new batts!

Happy Crafting!