Thoughts of Spring

I know, the year has not even ended and I am thinking about a Spring Dye Garden.  To be fair to me, January is National Seed Catalog Month.  I have just under 2 acres of land around my home, however much of that is either forest or too hilly to be useful for planting.  Fortunately I have 2 raised beds in the back of the house and one large raised bed facing the front of the house.  Throughout these past few years the beds have gone to seed.  I intend to put down some material that is supposed to deter weeds and cut around the few plants that I want to keep.  Then I intend to make some cement blocks, with inlaid glass designs on top, to hold down the material as well as further deterring weeds.  The cement blocks will also be a great base for the pots that I hope to use so that I can plant a dye garden out front.  I also hope that creating cement blocks is truly as easy of a craft as it seems so that I can use that as a craft at the public library I work at next year.

To get an idea of what plants I want to put in my dye garden I am researching using several resources.  From Knitpicks I purchased The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes by Sasha Duerr.  So far I find it to be a fascinating resource that will help me a great deal toward understanding how to create dyes from plant materials.  I also purchased A Garden to Dye For through the Amazon Kindle Store.  These should give me a really good basis for understanding what plants I am going to need.  I am also trying to figure out what plants are native to my area of the USA so that I can avoid planting invasive species in my area.

In my two back beds I do hope to plant some vegetables.  Cherry tomatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, spaghetti squash, and perhaps some others.  Again, I do plan on deterring the weeds and utilizing planters to create a garden with reasonable maintenance needs.

I firmly believe that this is going to take me several months, both to figure out what plants are good for dyeing and native (or at least not destructive) to my environment.  I would love to plant some cotton or flax but the reality is I am a little too far north for that to be a realistic dream.

So, I will keep dreaming, planning, and crafting.

Happy Crafting to All!

I Am Infatuated

For Black Friday weekend I decided to obtain a few things that I have been looking at for years.  One of them was the Blue Butterfly Originals 2″X6″ Pin Loom.  I am a librarian and had always wondered about making my own bookmarks.  I was not certain what type of yarn I would like to use with it so I started with a couple of bits of yarn that I had spun.  According to the directions, which I skimmed over, you can use any yarn up to a bulky yarn.  Within two days I had worked out that each bookmarks takes about 4 yards of yarn.  27 bookmarks later, IN TWO DAYS, I am still going strong.  IMG_2094If any of my relatives actually read this blog, you are probably going to get a bookmark.  One of my relatives is turning her old doll house into a car house for her two sons, and race car driving husband I am sure,  so I think that these would make great little blankets or rugs for the cars.

I have ten more balls of yarn measuring 4 yards each wound up and ready to be woven, alas I actually have to work today.  Since each of the bookmarks seems to take around 10-15 minutes to create I anticipate needing more yarn wound tomorrow morning.  At first this loom seemed a bit expensive, with shipping it wound up being around $29 (Which is why I took so long to buy it), but since in two days I have woven over 20 of the bookmarks, using smaller amounts of yarn that I wasn’t sure what project I made them for, I think that this is well worth it.  I think that this would be something that I would certainly consider adding to a craft show, though in order to justify the yardage of the yarn they would probably be about $3 each.  I might make it $5 each or 3/$12.  As the year winds down I am trying to figure out where I want things to go from here.

Right now I am balancing my books with some of the insurance money, and since my work is seasonal and two of my jobs have almost a month long break, January will be supplemented as well.  In February I am going to start seeing if I can live off of my three jobs and what changes I need to make to my current situation.  Starting in March I will be calling the Handyman that Mom and I have been hiring and seeing what he wants to put siding on the house and fix up the external garage.  Those will be my two major home improvements for the year, and hopefully for longer than that.  I do have someone currently working on getting rid of the mice in the house, I have high hopes for that situation.

That is what my life looks like now, though I think I’m going to give up on the food boxes, I do not think that they worked out how I wanted them to.  I do not like sour flavors and everything seemed to have lemon juice or vinegar in them.  I will see about using my instant pot to explore some other cultures with flavors I know I have a chance of liking.

Happy Crafting!

Ordered and Delayed

I officially have my Spinolution electric Firefly spinning wheel ordered.  Since they are an American based company and they make each wheel to order it will be between 4-6 weeks before mine is shipped.  This is actually a good thing, it will give me time to enjoy the anticipation and look forward to seeing if there are any huge sales that are going to occur for the other crafting materials I hope to obtain.

I know that this seems like a sudden spree, and fairly irresponsible.  Truthfully I have ensured that I am spending less than half of what I have come into, saving what I can when I can, and that I have enough left over to cover the major expenses that are going to come up in the next year.  These three purchases are not going to significantly impact my financial situation, however they will significantly improve my productivity.

For the rest of 2018 I will be working and learning to enjoy what I have and what I can do.  For most of 2019 I will be figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life, what my priorities are, and how I am going to achieve them.  At present I am overwhelmed by possibilities, and need to have time to settle down and figure out where I want my energies to go.  I know that spinning and weaving are two things that I want to have as a priority in my life.

Paradise Fibers November 2018 box was themed around Harry Potter, to the extent that they are running a house cup.  Once specific goals have been accomplished then points are assigned and the house with the highest number of points will win.  The prize is 500 paradise points for each member of the house, which in reality is five dollars off of an order, nothing to sneeze at.

On another note, my first Green Chef box was scheduled to be delivered this past Saturday, I thought Wednesday but checked again and it was supposed to be Saturday.  This did not happen, due to the weather, and I am anxious to see how the ingredients have held up over the weekend.  I will report more about this in my next post.

So, major life decisions are on hold, but pending.  Expenditures are not beyond what is feasible at this time (though some house repairs might have to be accomplished using loans).  This is going to be a year of self exploration and renewal.  It will also be a year of renewal for my home and sweeping out what I do not (realistically) need.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

Phat fiber box September 2018

I adore how many beautiful sets of fiber arrived in this box.  There are a coup,e mini skeins of yarn that should be fun to lay with. I also received about 4 stitch markers as a lovely pin.  The box arrived less than a week after it was ordered.  I cannot wait to start spinning these  and hope to show off when they are done.

Happy spinning!

MS&WF 2- Wools and Sheep

I managed to add at least 13 new breeds to my fiber study.  There was one booth that had over 60 breeds, but mostly unwashed wool.  Since my mother has COPD (and is recovering from double Pneumonia) I am unwilling to bring unwashed fleece into the house.  While I am certain that the sheperds do their best, Wool Washer’s Disease is also known as Anthrax, so I am not going to take chances.

Below please find some of my amazing finds, I cannot wait to get started spinning them!D9786F29-BD2F-4F4A-B1A4-796420E78E90522df623-edcd-4526-be6a-4540e5008031.jpeg

Above are my two braids of Rambouillet from two different vendors.  As you can see one is white and combed top while the other is a natural brown and I believe carded.  The preparations and probably micron count are so very different but both are extremely springy.  I cannot wait to get my hands on them to test and spin!152BD26D-40F5-4FD8-9A9C-3E6957FA59F2

Above is my Tunis top, I have half of this section already spun into a single, I hope to ply and create samples over this weekend.  It was an amazing spin, if a bit coarse.  The dyed blues and pinks have mixed together in places to create an amazing purple effect that I am fascinated to see plied.2CBA7F34-70FA-481C-B641-8523292E1013

The extremely rare hog island I obtained is extremely full of vegetable matter.  The texture is very springy and I am looking forward to working with this fiber, but I also believe I might try to use the Hackle to get out a lot of the vegetable matter before attempting to spin this fiber.

I must have jiggled the camera an extreme amount while trying to photograph this Black Welsh, but the fiber is divine anyway.  A little coarse, but with that deep black color who cares?  24caf879-a0f6-44e0-a96c-b67c4ef94c82.jpeg

 

I managed to obtain lincoln roving as pictured here, and lincoln lamb locks as pictured below.  I will admit I made a mistake, the lincoln lamb locks are not the beautiful long locks I envisioned, they are quite short and I will probably use them to add texture to a batt instead of flicking them open for a true worsted yarn as I first envisioned.  The roving is luscious, though a bit coarser than I was expecting.F9B71DA4-4BB3-4F26-91CE-1F4ECBBAE662

This half pound of Karukal is just begging me to sink my fingers into it’s pretty softness and spin like the wind.  Soon, I promise soon!C839AED6-AF55-47BE-A7F7-DB5581FEB20D

This beautiful black braid of Zwartables is going to be a blast to spin, again it is on the coarser side of things, but who knows what it will do once it is spun and washed.  The guessing is half of the fun!694FFC24-009C-4604-8C3C-22B4BAA684A5

I went a little overboard with the Wensleydale, but I cannot for the life of me regret it.  I have this amazing half pound that I can use to spin worsted and see how well the finished yarn takes to dye as well as a braid of yellow Wensleydale near the bottom of the post that I can spin up and see the different shades of yellow pop out!99B83696-ACD8-42D6-864C-BBDAE22412C4

This braid of Textel seems to be on the downy side of wool, it should be a fun, soft spin, and the resulting yarn will be amazing (in its own way just like the rest of the yarns).714329AA-6DFF-4C20-8E65-B340C4891842

At the Coopworth booth they didn’t have any prepared roving but they did have an amazing selection of curls.  I love how they look in their bags and did manage to comb out a tiny portion on my new hackle.  They comb out beautifully, I think that as I have time I will pick apart the locks that I can find for combing and then use the drum carder for the rest.  This will give me a great chance to explore differences in preparation and how they effect the finished product.  So much fun and so much to learn!4CD66172-5F89-47F8-A734-B2F4FE163DEB

One of my patrons assured me that I already had some Finn that they spun as a part of their breed sample.  Oh well, I didn’t have it written down as a breed that I own, but even so this is such a fluffy bunch (and I was able to practice on an electric wheel for the first time with some skirted finn at the Folk Art Booth, so there is a special memory in this wool already).F1BC11E6-57B0-4035-9532-CDD205ABD86C

This mohair along with the pink locks below were obtained at a booth with two amazing ladies that offered to let me go see their goats anytime I wanted.  Even though I don’t live in Maryland I am tempted anyway!  At least I have this amazing roving and curls to play with!15633D07-5A4C-4293-AA33-771153D5DB4580BEA30B-B92E-4F76-B946-1F7FD546E4BC1CDB9AB4-EE61-46EF-ACF3-3E430363AF4B

No one ever told me that Cormo is one of the softest breeds ever.  I don’t know how this is going to spin up, but for now it is like petting my faux angora, so soft and beautiful!

The Cotswold below is such a delight to pet.  I cannot wait to spin it up.  The Ross Farm was one of two booths at which I found Four different Breeds that I had not spun yet. It was so much fun finding these different companies that raised or processed different heritage breeds.

7D9C0379-E0AC-4D5D-9E48-7D73DA6BEDF8This fiber is like trying to spin very coarse hair.  I have not gotten a chance to even pull it out of the bag other than the tail sticking out the top but I can already tell that spinning this is going to be interesting.  I cannot wait!93A291E2-CFBD-4828-A7FB-3F69B766DC8565BD7A1B-91DF-4006-8059-F0C4032B8F334885860F-0036-4032-981D-F46DCE671153

The last, but certainly not least, bit of fiber I purchased was some Superwash Targhee from a vendor that is friends with my father’s cousin who took me to Maryland Sheep and Wool on Saturday.  The colors are interesting but more than that I love spinning Targhee for it’s springy texture.  I am not thrilled that it is superwash, I have heard that some people have skin troubles with the chemicals used to make it superwash, but I look forward to working with it anyway.C7CBF171-AD58-43F8-AEC5-967E8E1CB892

So, there you have it, my stash haul from Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I cannot for the life of me believe that it was two weeks ago already.  Oh well, more time to save up for next year!

Happy Crafting!

Final Getting Ready

I am on the final stretch of getting ready for my trip.  My sibling, who is going to come up and keep an eye on Mom while I’m gone, let me know that I can have a carryon and a purse so I don’t have to worry too much about that.  I am getting really weird about this.

I have made sure that I have enough room in my favorite Timbuk2 bag to hold my yarn that I am trading Buffalo Wool Co. for a discount on a skein of their yarn, as well as all of the bags I am hoping to take since many of the vendors do not provide bags, and the first aid kit I picked up for this trip.  I have a bunch of little wallets to squirrel away my money so that I do not spend it all at once and so that I can keep track of how I am doing with the spending.  My personal grooming equipment is in a plastic box that I plan on putting in my suitcase.  There are two pairs of sneakers that I picked up with good arch support so that my plantar fasciitis doesn’t flare up during the trip.  It is quite painful when the muscle in the arch of your foot is pulled so tight you cannot sleep.

I plan on packing my pill container as well as a list of the medications I take so that the TSA doesn’t have any reason to be concerned.  I know, I’m a bit obsessed.  I messaged with my second cousins to see if they have any advice, and now I can only hope that things are going to go well.  I’ve got a great class to teach tomorrow and then I’ve got three more days of work to get through before I will be winging my way off to Maryland.

More to report from the road, and maybe something about my class.

Happy Crafting!

Day of Shopping

Saturday I bought YARN!  I live in rural western New York and as such the closest we have to a LYS is Joann Fabrics.  This past Saturday I had an opportunity to go to Erie, PA.  There were a couple of yarn stores that I wanted to hit, and boy was I happy I did.  Yoy cannot see it well from the photo but the first yarn, going left to right,  is super sparkly, the second will be great to ply with, and the third contains Hemp.  I hope to knit up the hemp so that my students get an idea of what a yarn containing hemp will be like.  I bought all three of those from the Cultured Purl.  This is also a great chance to play around with adding yarn to my stash in Ravelry, it was fun and easy!

The other LYS I stopped at is Rustic and Refined.  I was really lucky there, she was having a sale on Louisa Harding Angora mix yarn.  I was able to get two balls of two different colorways.  I hope to make scarves from them, they are so soft and pretty.  The last purchase I made there is the pretty yellow Linen Cotton blend yarn.  Again I hope to knit these up so that my students have an idea of what a sample of a linen blend yarn would look like.

I also wound up going to a local comic book store, much to my surprise I wound up finding four different older weaving books to add to my growing library.  I did spend some time in Barnes and Noble, I managed to find a soft leather bound notebook that I hope will be good for keeping track of my fiber desires.  I love that even though it is leather I can fold it up to stuff into my bag.

I am so very pleased with all of my purchases, I cannot wait to knit and block these samplers.  I have a Hokett 8 dent mini tapestry loom I am going to warp with 10/2 cotton to see if the angora makes a good weft at 8epi or if I have to try 12 or 16 epi.

I might have some very exciting news in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Happy Crafting!