Crocheted Shawl

It turns out that if you lock the cat in the computer room with you and let mom sleep in for a couple of hours you can crochet up a Half-Granny Shawl.

IMG_0815I love this pattern simply because it is so quick to crochet up and the results are amazing.  This is with the brights wool I spun up for the Paradise Fibers spinlympics & entered into the first week of the 51 yarn challenge by Jacey Boggs Faulkner.  This is my third shawl that I have crocheted with my handspun yarn, though it is the first using just one skein.

I’m really loving my yarn and handspinning, it is a joy when things get a little too busy in my ‘real life’.

Happy Crafting!

Olympics are Over

I am not including a photograph of my shawl for Ravellenics…because it has not grown since the last photo.  I have been plagued by these weird should and neck aches, I use a memory foam support pillow so I don’t get these anymore…so it was weird.  Then I was waiting in the doctors office for mom to finish her stress test, knitting away on my shawl, hunched up trying to get these tiny stitches to do what I want, and realizing, “Shoot, that’s why my neck hurts.”  So the shawl went into the, “When I get better at knitting I will try this again.” Or more Likely, “mess around with this every now and again until I deem it done.”  Either way the shawl is not going going to be finished anytime soon.

My Spin along went very well!  I am very happy with my 300+ yard skein of rainbow yarn.  It is beautiful and so very sparkly.  (I have to figure out how to photograph sparkles so they show up, I’m working on it.)  I also have my Unicorn Fluff and Faery Dust Skein spun and washed at about 150 yards.

IMG_0704

Again, I really love how this skein turned out.  Before long I hope to pick up my spinning for the breed study again with a combination of breeds and non-animal, non-plant material spins.  I recieved a Vegan Box not that long ago and I’ve used the fibers for demonstrations.  I have not taken the time to spin the vegan fibers to see how they work up.  I really am looking forward to adding that aspect to my explorations and sharing the results with my students.  I cannot believe in 6 weeks I’m going to be dyeing wool with students again.  Shoot, I’d better get started trying to figure out what went wrong last time I tested things with the commercial acid dyes.

Happy Crafting!

Back on Track…Mostly

IMG_0700

Since it is past the 15th, okay just past…boy I’ve been spinning like a dervish..I’ve started spinning my Brights Pack!

Mom likes to listen to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or the Rosary (or both) and then Morning Mass using her EWTN App on her iPad.  Since I like to keep her company and feel the need for some quiet contemplation in the morning, but if I just listen I fall back asleep, I have been spinning while she listens to the meditations.  According to mom the sound of my wheel whirring away is very soothing.  I’m trying to tell her the fact that my wheel is making that whirring clunking noise is not a good thing, but since I cannot find the source right now we are at a standstill.  I suspect that I need to disconnect, clean, re-oil, tighten, and reassemble the footman that connects my treadles to my wheel.  But since that involves the wheel being upside down and empty it isn’t going to happen until this spin is completed at least.

Because of her quiet time I have between 90-120 minutes in the morning of almost uninterrupted spinning time I have gotten quite a bit accomplished.  I do not believe for a minute that I will be able to keep this pace up, especially since I’m usually running around doing other things in the morning also, but while it lasts I intend to enjoy it.  If, somehow, I manage to get the last of my singles spun tomorrow morning, probably not since I’ve still got almost half of my fiber to spin, then I can put each single on a bobbin, or bobbins, and ply from there.  I plan on having this be a three-ply yarn so I’ll have to see how much I can fit on my bobbins, first I think I’ll try and find my schacht travel bobbins and ply-up bobbins before worrying about putting singles on the smaller weaving bobbins.

With my extreme enjoyment of my spinning I Have not progressed very far on my knitting.  What I have gotten knit up is beautiful and I cannot wait to see the end project.  Thank goodness I cannot take my wheel to work, well I could but it would cause trouble, so I bring my knitting with me and get a couple of rows done while I am supposed to be on my lunch break, lol.  This is probably enough of an update for today, I am going to upload pictures of my breed study sheets to another blog post that I will schedule to release tomorrow.  I had a ton of fun creating them and I am already working on some variations as well as collecting some more breeds to spin!

Happy Crafting!

Miscalculation

It turns out that the Spin Along for the Olympics starts on the 15th, whoopsie.  Oh well.  The ravellenics knit along is going strong.  I’m working on my shawl, a little haphazardly but it will get knit.  I recieved my February 2018 Paradise Fibers box of the month and I really enjoyed the challenge.  They decided to advise that we create a crepe yarn from the supplies they gave us.  I decided to go with that choice.  I did change things up a bit, while they advised that we spin from the top, first one shade of blue then the other and ply them together from there I modified things.  I like carding rolags, not sure why I just get a kick out of them, so I carded the two blues together in a striped rolag formation adding sparkle along the way.  I also didn’t use their silk that they provided instead I spun up some of the silk blend I had left-over from december that I tried to dye black.  It wound up grey instead but I really like how the yarn turned out.  I am also pleased that I have some of the silk blend left.

For the technical side.  I spun the silk blend with the wheel going to the right.  Then I spun all of the merino blue rolags with the wheel going to the left.  Then I put the blues into a center pull ball and plied them with the wheel going to the right.  This means that I had a 2 ply yarn and a silk blend singles all from a wheel going to the right.  Then I plied the 2 ply with the single on the wheel going to the left.  This means that some of the ply twist came undone causing the plied yarn to bubble up a bit.

IMG_1506

The effect wasn’t as extreme as I thought it may have been, but truthfully until I work with it I cannot really judge it.  I am not sure if I am going to just use this as an example for my students and swatch the heck out of it. or try and make it into a project.  It might look cool as a woven purse for example.  Who knows.  I’ll post progress on my ravellenics and spin along later this week or next. ‘Til then, Happy Crafting!

Getting Ready

Using my Brother Drum Carder and my Howard Hand Cards I managed to create a really amazing set of fiber preparations.  The rolags at the left are from my handcards, I really like how they turned out.  The middle was carded as a striped batt on my drum carder, I put it through the carder once and added a lot of sparkle that is not showing up here.

The single color batts were put through the drum carder once, again with a lot of sparkle added.  The final batt looks red on one side, purple on the other, and has every color in between (along with a ton of sparkle).  I tried to show the colors using the spots where I ‘nibbled’ it off of my drum carder, but they don’t show too well.

I am really looking forward to spinning each of these yarns and then plying them to make an amazing 3 ply yarn.

Happy Crafting!

Getting Ready for Ravellenics & SAL

I am getting myself psyched up for the Paradise Fibers Spin Along for the Olympics as well as Ravelry’s Ravellenics.  For the spin along I purchased the Brights package from Paradise Fibers, it contained a rainbow of colors as well as three other shades off of primary, burgundy, a blue, and a fluorescent pink.  I didn’t think that these colors would do much but I wanted to card them with some sparkle anyway.  I loaded my handcards, and away I went.

I tried going for a bit of a striped effect but soon discovered that I liked how everything looked when it was blended more thoroughly.  I decided to create punis from my carding, since they are so much fun to spin, and I really hope that when I spin them they create an amazing tweed effect.

IMG_0679

I decided, rather whimsically, to name them “Unicorn Fluff & Faerie Dust”.  They have a lot more sparkle to them in person than they do in this photo.

As for the primary colors, I will make that into another post when I have pictures.  I am very happy with how that turned out also.

As for the breed study, Heaven Help Me, I’ve decided to get a bit organized with it.  I managed to spin and knit 13 different breeds in January.  As stated in a previous post, I need to take more time with them.  Unfortuantely for my resolve to move onto something different until I find out what my guild is doing, Camaj Fiber Arts is selling Perenale Wool for $1 an ounce as their wool of the month (which might be different by the time you are reading this post).  So I have decided to look through the Field Guide to Fleece by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius to see what breeds I’m missing, which I already know are 90+.  This should be a blast to work through, and since I have created a spreadsheet I hope to minimize my duplication of effort.  In other words, I hope I’m not going to buy a bunch of breeds I’ve already spun, lol.  Back to listing breeds.  Later this week, or early next, I hope to post pictures of the pages I’ve already finished.

Happy Crafting!

Blooming an Idea Journal

It is already past the middle of January, ack!  I cannot believe that three weeks are gone.  Fortunately for me, these have been fairly productive weeks.  I received my January box from Paradise Fibers, it was a Breed Sampler Box!  How very exciting!  Since I am going to be teaching several classes on spinning this Spring I began thinking about the Journaling that is recommended for spinners.  At first keeping track of what you are spinning sounds like a real pain.  My excuse was “I just want to get good at spinning before I begin recording my results, it all looks bad right now.”

As a matter of fact, the ‘bad’ spinning that I didn’t like tends to get the most compliments.  Who knows, right?  Since these first heady…well okay 21 months….of spinning I have come to realize a few things:

A) I cannot just keep creating yarn, eventually I’m going to have to weave/crochet/knit it so that I can figure out what kind of yarn I (and possibly mom) like working with. (Thank You whomever came up with the ‘Half-Granny Shawl’ pattern it looks great no matter what yarn I use.)

B) If I don’t know what it looks like knitted (lace & cable) and crocheted (possibly eventually woven) then I won’t know what I want to use it for.  (My goodness, all of those people saying sample, sample sample, are on to something! *gasp*)

C) I won’t actually remember what kind of fiber that is a couple of months later when it’s in an unmarked skein and I’m trying to work with it.  (Okay, so I won’t actually remember what kind of fiber it is when I finish spinning it sometimes…did I mention I don’t have the best memory?)

D) By Gum, Journaling Might Be the Answer!  (actually journaling is the answer as well as labeling with water-proof labels.)

Given this hard won knowledge, but boy I have some really pretty skeins..if only I knew what they were made of other than ‘wool’…oh well, granny shawls here I come, I have decided to begin to journal my spinning starting with my January Paradise Fibers Box.

As of writing this post (okay last week) I had split each tube of fiber in half, keeping half in the tube so that I can have samples for myself and to show my students.  Half of each tube was spun, plied from a center pull ball, the twist was set.  I decided to spin 1/4 of my Targhee sample since I was given twice as much of that fiber and I saw something about spinning sock yarn from Targhee (I’m going to work on my consistency before tackling that).  My Targhee still has not been completely spun, I did start but work got in the way.

Before spinning each sample I took a staple of the fiber, taped it to a note card with the Breed, date, where I got it from, the wheel and settings I was using.  Then as I was spinning, usually near the end (when I remembered) I took off a sample of spun fiber, let it ply onto itself, then taped that onto the note card labeled ‘2-ply unfinished’.  *In theory if I did this when I was spinning and referred back to my ‘plyback sample’ I would be able to create a more consistent yarn, maybe in the next two years.*  Since finishing the yarns I have managed to Knit and Crochet two of them as well as blocking these pieces.

Okay, in all honesty I had to wash and block them twice.  The Paradise Fibers Box came with a sample of Unicorn Power Wash, I was really excited since I have been wanting to order from them but I didn’t want to invest a lot in case I didn’t like it (boy am I glad I waited).  When I washed and blocked my samples the first time, I was really excited with how they looked, but I started getting a headache which was odd for me.  After a bit of thought, especially with how sudden the headache was, I realized that it was the Unicorn Power Wash that was causing the headache.  I gave the samples a thorough scrub with Dawn and hot water, then rinsed them again.  There was still too much scent.  I wound up soaking them overnight with a lemon scented handsoap I had on hand, they are fine now.  However all of this washing caused one of my samples to ‘bloom’ a bit more than I would like but the halo effect is really pretty.

Once these samples are dry I intend to tape them onto a piece of paper, along with the sample card I made earlier, and put these into a sleeve to go in a three-ring binder (thanks mom for that Idea!).  I do plan on knitting *lace and cable* and crocheting each of the samples, so that I have a comprehensive journal of these fiber samples that I can refer back to in the future.  Okay, so I’m mostly crocheting to use up the last of each of my little skeins, I am better at crochet so I can make that sample fit any size I need it to.  I will also say that this sampling is a great way for me to up my knitting game, I was terrified of cables and lace before I realized that plain knit-one-side-purl-the-other wasn’t going to cut it.  I am almost positive that my ‘lace’ stinks but until I let a knitter see it I’ll live in ignorance.

This entire experience has been an absolute blast.  While I know it will be harder to find crafting time while I’m working I still like knowing that I have a specific project I am crafting toward, and a deadline really…April will be here before you know it!

Happy Crafting!