Tour de Fleece 2019

Before beginning the meat of this post, I want to state: I know that there has been a lot of politics involved in the crafting community in 2019.  I am glad to be able to support diverse pattern makers, yarn suppliers, and more.  I believe that the BIPOC crafting community as well as the LGBTQ+ community should have a voice.  I am not willing to comment further on the political actions that some private websites and communities have taken.  Onto the crafting!

Tour de Fleece 2019 has started!  This is a roundup of my first week, it’s sort of pitiful.

Tour de fleece 2019

Above are the fibers that I am going to spin this year, mostly the Shetland Moorit that I did not get finished with the Hap-Along.  I have been concentrating somewhat on the crocheted sweater that I hope to have completed by September as well as looking for a full-time position.  Due to these distractions I have not accomplished as much spinning as I had hoped, though I have managed to spin 4 of the last 7 days.  I have made significant progress on my sweater, however it does not look like much right now so I did not bother to take a photo.

Hopefully next week I will have more to report, especially since I will have had my Dyeing Day with the Weaver’s Guild.  That reminds me, I’d better wind my cotton warp this week!

Happy Crafting and remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Paradise Fibers Spinning for the Throne

D7A5A0C9-C702-4E77-9511-5D4D57144B74.jpg

Paradise Fibers has decided to run a Spinning for the Throne Spin Along for the month of May.  For their Fiber of the Month box they created four different merino silk blend colorways and they sent them out in two different combinations.  One set of combinations was “Not Today” and “Blue Eyes”, the set that I received is “He Who Knows Nothing” and “Mother of Dragons”.  We also received one of two tweed blends, “Ice” or “Fire” and some green Angelina they named Wildfire.

Right now I am in the process of spinning up “He Who Knows Nothing” in a short forward draw from the fold on my Ladybug using my Woolee Winder.

IMG_2537

The spin is supposed to be inspired by the Game of Thrones, however I have not watched very much of it so far.  What I have watched, almost 10 minutes of the first episode, contained a lot of blood.  Since I am willing to bet that this trend continues, I have decided to add in some splotches of blood to this mix, I do enjoy how it is turning out so far.  I had originally thought to felt some Dragon Wings and add them into the mix at random spots, however I am well aware of my artistic limitations, not to mention the time constraints of this SAL (Spin Along).

IMG_2538

Once this batch is done I will start spinning up “Mother of Dragons”, I still have the winter gradient that was sent, I think in December 2018, and two of those colors will go beautifully with the Mother of Dragon set.  My tweed is “Fire” which will also go well with the blues of the second set of fiber.  I am not sure if I will keep these as two separate skeins of yarn or see how they look when they are plied together, only time will tell.  In addition to all of this fiber, we were sent a magnet, sticker, an amazing stitch marker, and pattern for fingerless gloves that look like dragon scales.  I am really looking forward to having the chance to try and make the gloves.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Quick Spinning Post

Paradise Fibers decided to have a Spinlympics again this year even though it is not any olympics year.  Since I had a grab bag pack of the merino wool they recommended I decided to see if I could make something with it.  I decided to use my Brother Drum Carder to blend some silk and bamboo into each of the colors I chose.  There was a sky blue, yellow/gold, and bright yellow.  When I pulled the fiber off of the drum carder I created rolags instead of a batt.  In addition to the merino/bamboo/silk I added a couple of rolags of Yak/Silk I already had on hand.IMG_2313

Once I had spun the singles in a long backward draw on my Ladybug I created a center pull ball to ply from.  I know that a lot of people have trouble with this method and I will concede that there is probably a twist difference from the outside strand and the inside one. However I find that as long as I take care when plying to ensure even tension as well as taking care that the inside fiber does not tangle as it comes out, I love the results.  Also the lack of waste really appeals to me.

Once plied I ended up with about 110 yards of a yarn that I believe is sport weight.  Once this yarn is washed I will have a better idea of what size the finished yarn will be.

IMG_2315

As I was spinning the quote from S.E. Hinton’s the Outsiders kept floating through my head, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”.  With the shades of gold, a bit of blue skies as well as a bit of shades of grey, I am calling this skein, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”.  I had so much fun experimenting with the long draw, and I cannot wait to see this washed up.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

Spinning Box February 2019

I have been meaning to purchase a Fair Trade Basket made in Africa for a couple of years now.  Unfortunately, they have always seemed very expensive for something I am concerned I will just push around.  When The Spinning Box had their limited edition baskets filled with fiber, I fell in love with this version.  It is even roomier than I thought, and while my first photo is poorly done, the vivid colors on the inside cannot be mistaken.  All of this is before taking into consideration that it was filled past the brim with fiber and a couple of other goodies.

This basket was in celebration of the holiday originating in India called Holi.  My understanding is that it is a celebration of color and joy, which this basket certainly represents.  Bundled with the basket is also a set of videos intended to demonstrate ways of making the spinning box into a cohesive unit.  I am still working my way through them, I do not know if it is because I am watching them on an Apple device or if my internet is just not very compatible with the server the videos are hosted on but for me they lag quite a bit.

The variety of fibers is quite remarkable, from Targhee, Merino blends, and Lincoln to name a few.

I am hoping that I can spin these two targhee rovings well enough for a pair of socks!  There are enough Merino fibers that I believe I can blend them into a decent sized project, depending on how they want to spin.  If I have the patience to draft them into laceweight I might be able to knit a shawl, if they want to be thicker perhaps some leg/arm warmers, maybe I can weave something with them.  No matter what they become, the colors are guaranteed to shine.

As you can see pictured above there was a wide variety of merino!

There are a few other little batches of fiber that I have to figure out what I want to do with them, if I can manage to get 110 yards of 2 ply out of a breed then I should be able to knit some wrist/ankle warmers which might be fun.  I have the skein for my first attempt at knitting the pattern ready to be balled up so that is also on the agenda.

There was also a wand of some sort, pictured upper left, and a pendant containing an elephant (not pictured) included.  I am very excited, and rejuvinated, by all of this color and opportunity to experiment.  One last interesting feature is that apparently the basket can be wetted and reshaped if it should become deformed.

Was this basket expensive, Yes it really was.  However I could have easily spent that much just for the basket, so I know that the hours of enjoyment that the fibers are going to bring me are certainly a bonus.  I am trying to think of the best use of the basket, right now it is holding all of the merino blends so that I can carry them around into different light and decide how I want to put them together.  Perhaps I can use it to display finished skeins for color inspiration.  Until next time!

Happy Crafting!

 

Project Progress

I really enjoyed taking the sock fiber from the February Paradise Fibers box and using coffee to dye it. I will have to wait until I can get a good photograph outside, because the color does not show very well at all in this photo. It was so much fun saving the grounds from my k-cups and turning them into a great fiber to spin. Should I decide to overdye this, the brown as a base will add a lot of depth to the new color. I cannot wait to spin this, but I have a couple of projects before I can get to this one.IMG_2221

Speaking of Spinning Projects I have made progress on my spin for a pair of anklettos/wristlettos.  Using the Ezee Twist tool I managed to spin my yarn at about 16wpi singles which should be 8 wpi 2-ply yarn.  I finished off the singles, they are currently resting.  IMG_2293

I have also signed up to take part in the Paradise Fibers Spinlympics again this year, even though there are no winter olympics.  I already had a grab bag of the merino fiber that they recommend using, I have carded up the yellow, orange, and blues with some silk I had around and made rolags.  I hope to start spinning this since the spinlympics are ending by the end of  February.  This will put me, although I am already, behind on spinning for my hap.  That is supposed to be knit up by the middle of March.  I don’t think I will make the deadline, but I certainly hope to have the spinning done for that by then.  I do not have any photos of my Spinlympics rolags nor my Hap rolags, so we will have to skip to sock progress.

I have the first two socks made from the pattern in Interweave Crochet 2011.  I did not do any extra shaping around the ankle in the blue worsted weight yarn sock.  However for the multi-colored fingering weight sock I added a few decreases before I turned for the heel.  This causes the sock to be a much better fit around my ankle.  Since I used the same size hook for both the fingering weight yarn is a looser fabric than the worsted, this will result in a sock that will wear out faster, but I have already noticed that the fingering weight sock breathes better on my foot.    Right when I finished the fingering weight sock I started on the second sock.  I am not too worried about the worsted weight one, but I really do want to have a pair of socks in this fingering weight yarn.  I had also purchased two skeins of Felici in the Baker Street colorway from knitpicks.  I adore the BBC show Sherlock (though I hate Mary) and so I had to have these Sherlock inspired socks.  I went down a size in my crochet hook, and I am also making the ribbing a bit longer than previously.  I have tried the cuff on, and 36 stitches should still be the right amount.  I am very excited to see how these are going to turn out!

That is all of my progress for now, Happy Crafting!

New Tools

One of my new philosophies has to do with having the tools you need to achieve the results you want.  Can I weave tapestries with a picture frame?  Yes, but I will not like the process or the results.  Given that I have decided to invest in a couple of tools to make my crafting life a bit easier and my results a bit better. Before I get to the actual reviews, a disclaimer, I am in no way affiliated with any of the products below.  I purchased them using my own funds, I am not making any profit from these reviews/products.

Recently I have decided to up my knitting and crochet game.  I have started with socks, but I hope to progress to garments like cardigans, shawls, and sweaters soon.  Learning Tunisian Crochet, filet crochet, and lace knitting are also on my list of projects to work on.  With fitted garments gauge is extremely important.  To this end I have invested in the Akerworks Swatch Gauge, but I went all out and invested in the knitting tool kit.

IMG_2209

This includes, tape measure, scissors, two darning needles, knitting needle measuring tool, locking stitch markers, and various magnets across the back in addition to the gauge swatch tool.  Essentially this is everything that I would need to knit or crochet on the go in one compact tool.

The stitch gauge has the numbers engraved on the side that is facing down toward the fabric, but they are engraved backwards so when the tool is being used the numbers show in the right direction, but there is no real explanation as to what the numbers are.  Going horizontally across the top there are the numbers 1-4 and under the horizontal line are the numbers 1-10.  Comparison with a ruler proves that 1-4 measures inches while 1-10 measures centimeters.

The tape measure can be slid out of the compartment that houses it, but can also be easily used from its nest in the tool.  The scissors have comfortable finger holes as well as proving themselves quite sharp when put to the test against yarn.  The darning needles in addition to the stitch markers are standard but since they are metal they stay where the magnets put them quite easily.

When my studio is completed I believe that this will have a place stuck to the metal rack I intend to install.  The swatch gauge will be just at home measuring picks per inch as it will stitches per inch.

I have been lusting after the Eszee twist tool for about 2 years now.  Spinning is still my main passion, however all of the math tends to intimidate me.  No longer!  With the Eszee Twist tool I can measure the angle of twist, but more importantly I have a gauge which I can put my yarn on and have a  fairly good idea of what the wraps per inch are going to be without making a mini skein of yarn.  This kit comes with much more than just the measuring tool, it has a bookmark, knitting needle gauge, yarn tracker, in addition to a user guide that does double duty as an Everything You Need to Know to Get the Yarn You Want guide.

In addition to explaining what twist is, s twist, z twist, and angles of twist, this guide goes on to explain different yarn constructions such as 2 ply, 3 ply, Navajo plied, core spun, cables, worsted, and woolen.  The part that I find most useful is the simple math needed to calculate what size your finished yarn will be.  This simple formula was well worth the investment, but the guide and other tools provide everything you need to gain a deeper understanding of yarn construction.

IMG_2207

Yes, they are stitch markers.  Actually what they are is a charm bracelet I purchased through amazon and repurposed using some split rings and lobster clasps.  I just love the BBC production of Sherlock (except the last season and I HATE Mary) so I wanted stitch markers that reflected me.  However, I did not want to spend $5 for one to three stitch markers that really had little to do with Sherlock.  So I found a charm bracelet, there were 20 charms on it, a little manipulation, and I have 20 stitch markers that I thoroughly enjoy.  Since I made the entire batch in less than an hour I can certainly see the appeal in buying up a lot of charms and making these by the hundreds.  I wonder if I can recoup some of my yarn/fiber expenses by starting a stitch marker business?

Happy Crafting!

Still Spinning

Okay, so the 2 pounds of Shetland Moorit arrived so I am working on carding it into rolags to spin up for my Hap.  I was feeling under the weather a bit so in between my knitting, crocheting, laundry and dishwasher loads, I curled up in bed to look over past issues of Spin-Off Magazine.  While paging through I happened across a pattern for little wrist cuffs as well as ankle cuffs.  Each of these take a bit over 100 yards of fiber, well I have all sorts of little scraps so I decided to go for it.  In December I purchased the international box from Camaj Fiber Arts Spinning Boxes, she was selling off past boxes.  There were some very pretty fibers based on Korea and Norway/Finland that I decided to spin into a little skein.

IMG_2178  I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  However, it is only 78 yards.  Yes, not even enough for one of the patterns.  Oh well, I have more little samples (I have already started) so I will be incorporating two mini batts, and three more random colored combed tops that look like they will fit the bill.  I am already almost half way through spinning this batch, it already looks like more singles than the last attempt.

IMG_2142

The patterns are from Spin Off Winter 2007 pages 46-47 titled “Anklettos and Wristlettos: Fringe Benefits” by Phreadde Davis.

Hopefully once I have this yarn spun, plied, set, and dried, I will not be either bored with this idea, working on the hap, or ready for more installments from Jimmy Beans Wool.  I will admit to a small amount of introspection, I am aware that I have been keeping myself too busy to really take the time to miss my Mom.  February tends to stink since we lost Dad near the end, I have already found myself crying for no apparent reason simply because it hit me hard that she isn’t around.  Oh well, back to distractions!

Happy Crafting!