This was spun from some lovely hand dyed merino wool from Jill Draper Makes Stuff. If we ever see the sun around here, I'll take some post soaking photos.
This was spun from some lovely hand dyed merino wool from Jill Draper Makes Stuff. If we ever see the sun around here, I'll take some post soaking photos.
I love Sophie's Toes yarns and was happy to be able to pick up a couple of crazy colorful skeins last weekend at the Vogue Knitting Live event in Chicago. One of these is already quickly becoming a new project -- photos soon, I hope!
This beautiful merino roving from Jill Draper Makes Stuff also came home with me. I picked up the spindle again a couple of weeks ago, but I think this will get me to dust off the spinning wheel.
I've had my current computer for over a year now and yet there was no "spinning" folder. In other words, it's been a heck of a long time since I completed any spinning.
As I was out of practice (and watching LOST episodes while spinning), this yarn is a bit funky, but who cares! It's screamingly pink and purple -- over the top saturated and I love it.
The color on this photo is off, but I couldn't resist a macro shot. BTW, the wool was from Fiber Optic Yarns and is a 80% superwash merino/20%nylon. It is called Foot Notes Unspun! pencil roving. Clearly I did not spin this up as a sock yarn, but once again -- who cares! It just might make some soft squishy mittens, which is fine by me.
When I first saw the Green Bananas colorway I fell in love -- then I started spinning it up. Eh. More like mint chocolate chip than green bananas, I thought. In fact, look at it on the bobbin:
So I wasn't all that excited to ply it up. I figured that I just wasn't going to like this yarn and that sometimes that happens. I'd live with it.
Then I plied it. . . whoa! All the great color combos I saw in the unspun fiber came back and looked even better then I remembered. The singles which looked so minty green to me became golden and warm. I guess this is a reminder that you never know what will happen when you spin up fiber until you actually see it completed.
Up next is more fiber from Spunky Eclectic -- Corrie in the Orchard colorway.
I went to Chappy's virtual birthday party and got a gift! I'm sure Deb helped Chappy get it sent out in the mail, and I know that it was Deb who spun up that gorgeous yarn! It's so nice and fine -- I pretty much spin at one thickness, so I greatly admire these finer yarns. My photo does not even capture the beautiful low lights and highlights in this yarn. I have to find a special project for it. Thanks, Deb!
Speaking of spinning. . . I think I mentioned that I purchased some fiber from Spunky Eclectic recently. The Green Bananas colorway really caught my eye and I started spinning it very shortly after it arrived. In fact, I'm almost finished with my second bobbin:
After that I'm going straight to the Orchard Corrie -- also from Spunky Eclectic. I'm on a spinning roll!
As I am getting back in the groove with my spinning, I couldn't resist picking up Intertwined by Lexi Boeger when I saw it on the new arrivals shelf at the library. Like many of you, I followed Lexi's blog for ages and admired the wild and sometimes outrageous yarns she made, but thought it was something I a) couldn't do myself and b) even if I could do it I would have no use for the yarn. This book changed all that.
First of all, the book has detailed instructions and tips for each kind of yarn it covers -- and there are a lot of different yarn styles. While I might not want to make yarn out of cassette tape (although this book will tell you how), I do want to learn how to make wrapped yearns and thread plied yarn and even thick and thin yarns. All covered.
The patterns are diverse -- hats, scarves, shoelaces and more -- and these projects are not only for knitters. Techniques used include weaving, felting, knitting, crochet and even sewing. And there are tons of great photos of yarns, techniques and finished goods.
If you are a spinner, or even just a yarn lover, I think you'll really enjoy this book!
Forgive me this strange comparison, but when I first took the orange cormo/silk yarn off of the niddy noddy, all I could think was that it looked pretty rough. Perhaps you are a fan of the caterpillar, but I much prefer the butterfly. In this case, a freshly washed and dried hank of yarn. . .
It just puffed up and filled out so nicely. Amazing what a difference a little soak in some bubble bath can do for some yarn.
This yarn had the added problem of being composed of one bobbin that had been laying around for who knows how long and one freshly spun bobbin. There was no real way to tell if I had the correct amount of ply until after the bath. Either I did a good job or cormo is really forgiving because it hangs as straight as can be. Whew!
I received the latest issue of Spin-Off in the mail the other day and for the first time in a long while I was inspired to spin. It was the gallery of Morning Surf scarves that really got me excited -- so many different beautiful scarves from one pattern.
As I looked through the stash to see what I might start spinning up, I came across this luscious orange, cormo and silk blend. It's a joy to spin and I'm looking forward to seeing where the strips fall when it is plied. I may even make myself a Morning Surf scarf with the finished yarn.
Ah -- 3-ply! I am in love. Now don't get me wrong, at first it was a struggle. I had only done a navajo 3-ply before and that was always on a spindle. I attempted it once on my wheel after reading a Spin-Off article, but it was just so fussy.
After a few different placements of the lazy kate, and figuring out exactly how I needed to hold the plys, it just came together! Here's what I did. . .
First, here is my super-deluxe lazy kate. It's not unlike what Theresa has been using -- just a box with some knitting needles stuck through. I put the kate next to the wheel and pulled up all three strands with my right hand. This hand was kind of like a guide and the plies bent back around this hand before heading off to be spun. This helped keep the tension and keep the plies in order.
My left hand actually had to keep things in order too, otherwise two of the plies sometimes wanted to go twisting up and leaving the third one out, so I separated them with my fingers up close to where the twist started -- this kept things all neat and orderly.
The yarn was washed up last night and is still hanging to dry, but I can already tell that it's a winner! I really like the 3-ply and I'm going to ply up the balance of this lovely stuff today!
And I just want to say thank you to everyone who left a nice comment about my friend. We were able to get down to SC in time to see her before she passed away. I have really wonderful memories of her growing up and as I said, she was a crafter. I'm actually searching eBay for some of the crafts that she used to do back in the 70's and hopefully I'll have more to share with you soon. I think it would be a nice memory of her!
It's time to lay it all out. Well not all. . . I know I have more wip's than I'm showing here, but these are the ones I'll probably finish. (Well mostly. . .)
Keepsake Shawl knit in many colors of Koigu. I started this in 2004, I believe and I came up with a great system for knitting it so that I could just pick it up and remember exactly which yarn to use and which row I was on. So why does is sit? Who knows. I really want to finish this one up, so I think I will make it my #1 knitting priority.
Ingeborg, oh Ingeborg. I started you back when the knit-along began. Was that 2004 also? And every winter I pick you up and get re-invigorated . . . for about 15-20 rows. Maybe this will be they year that you get finished!
Trekking socks started for the "Trek along with Me" knit-along. I never did take a picture of me trekking along. Is it still going on? I'm *awful* with knit-alongs (see Ingeborg above) and should never, ever join them. These socks will get finished though. I love Trekking yarn! It just takes me several months to finish a pair.
New felted bag design I'm playing around with. It's a smallish bag and I'll finish it up in the next week or two.
What is this thing???? Why am I making it? Okay, this is the Amineko and I decided to make it with Encore from the stash. I should have gotten a different yarn. I didn't really want a red cat and I don't really care for this yarn, so I never work on this project and the featureless head is all that has been made. Time to rip this one out and start over with a new yarn, I think. This was my only crochet project in the works and it's a failure. Ugh!
Oh! My quilt! I love these fabrics and want to get back to work on this soon. The last month has been so busy and I really need time when I want to quilt, so this has been neglected. I know that cooler, quieter weekends are on the way though, so it will progress!
Mountain Colors woven scarf. I love how the weaver's wool from Mt. Colors is sort of striping, sort of not in this scarf. A free hour or two and some good podcasts to listen to and this will be finished!
I'm still making good progress on that lovely pink fiber from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The third bobbin is well on it's way to getting filled up and then it's on to plying. I have no doubt that this will be finished up very soon.
Paradigm Lost cross-stitch sampler. I often want to work on this but there are several impediments to my progress -- First, I don't have good lighting pretty much anywhere in the house and I really need it to work with this dark thread on linen. Second, it's in a small basket, so I have to keep it stored off it's stretcher bars. So I can't just pick it up and stitch a bit -- it requires set up time. Third, my eyes get tired at night and that's usually when I find time to craft. Hmmm. . .
Elsa Williams Jacobean Crewel Embroidery. Not sure why this has stalled, other than the fact that I have so much going on.
I realized that I haven't listed the Kumihimo braid I'm working on either. And I'm sure there are other things. Maybe posting photos of my wip's on a regular basis will get me excited about them again. It seems to have worked. I'm already looking forward to getting in some rows on the Keepsake Shawl!
In other news, guess what tomorrow is. It's not my birthday, or wedding anniversary, but it is *an* anniversary for me. . .
It's been very busy around here the last week, preparing for the 7th Annual Tim Klotz Memorial Golf Outing which was held on Tuesday. It's exhausting emotionally and physically, but it raises a nice bit of money for local charities and it also gets together a lot of my Dad's friends so that they can chat about him and recall his antics which is always fun.
But I have found some time to craft too! Last week Theresa come over for a spinning day and I finished up my first bobbin of this lovely shocking pink Blue Moon Fiber Arts handpainted roving in the colorway Cranberry. The fiber is 50% Alpaca and 50% Blue Faced Leicester -- yum! It's been an absolute joy to spin. I spun the second bobbin up this past weekend and just need to spin up bobbin #3 so can make my three ply. After that, Maddie will be getting a nice new pair of mittens and something else -- a matching hat or scarf or both depending on the yardage. (Alden Amos would have my head. Before I started spinning, he would have me calculate my estimated yardage according to some complicated weighing and measuring of a sample. Forget that!)
I've also got a weaving project on the loom and Maddie's socks are almost finished! Two incredible books arrived on Tuesday too, so I need to review them. Oh my goodness, I have a lot to do!
I finally decided to do something with the chocolate alpaca/silk single I spun up a while ago. I originally wanted to knit it up into something lacy as a single, but after soaking it I decided against that. All the kinks came out, and it really wasn't twisting very much, but it felt too string-like to me. I knew that this stuff -- being alpaca and silk -- could be *much* softer. So ply, I did. (And I couldn't get a decent photo for the life of me -- maybe it's the shiny silk that was messing me up?)
After plying I ended up with a nice soft, drapey yarn. And I still have a respectable 84 yards or so from my 2 ounces of fiber. I should be able to find something to knit out of that.
You may see a bit more spinning on the blog in the next month or so. I finally picked up my copy of The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning that has been lying around unread for ages. Just reading through it has given me the spinning bug!
Now, I'm planning to do a podcast about weaving so I'll talk a lot more about this fun toy, but I had to show it off a bit here. First let me tell you that I had been lusting after one of these ever since I saw that Ashford had come out with them, but it was Syne Mitchell's endorsement on her last podcast (Weavecast -- check it out!) that put me over the edge.
At any rate. . . the first picture up top shows how I created the warp using the warping peg. Then I warped up the loom:
And after that I was good to go and started weaving! Just look what I did in one night after a long day of traveling out to Marengo, spinning all day and getting home rather tired. I thought I might be too worn out to give it a try, but Pete encouraged me to go for it and in under an hour I had it all set up, warped up and was weaving!
I didn't use any special kind of "weaving" yarn -- just some stuff I had in the stash. The warp is Sirdar Salsa DK (50% Merino / 50% Acrylic) and the weft if Plymouth Outback Mohair (70% Mohair, 26% Wool, 4% Nylon). Here's a semi-close-up:
The first project that they have you start with is supposed to be a scarf, but I think I want to make this into a little bag and maybe a couple mug mats. We'll see. It's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to lots more projects on my little rigid heddle loom!
Okay. . . now for the spinning part! Yesterday I finally finished spinning up some very pretty 70% Chocolate Alpaca/30% Tussah Silk that I bought from Shadeyside Farm while at MS&W. I'm hoping a good soak will take out the kinks, because I want to knit it up as a single. Take a look at it on the niddy:
It's so shiny because of the silk, that it's a bit difficult to photograph. I'll try to take a better picture once it's soaked.
Now I'm off to play with my loom some more! Stitch-Cast is on hiatus this weekend I'm afraid.
I'm in tax time hell. And I can't complain -- not one little bit. Why? Because my Mom -- in addition to being a darn good financial planner -- is a tax accountant. Now *she* is in tax time hell. So I really can't, or shouldn't, since my pain is so small by comparison to that of a person I love so much.
Yet I complain.
Because I have been adding up numbers all day on little slips of papers -- receipts -- ARGH! Yes, I should do this at the end of every month so that I'm not facing a mountain at the end of the year (or the end of March the following year), and that is the plan. I found my spreadsheet with January's numbers all filled in so it looks like I made it one whole month before flaking out. Hm.
But you didn't come here to hear about the not so fun (dare I say downright miserable) part of business ownership, right? You came here to see the CVM! And here you go. . .
Can I say enough nice things about Liz who sent this lovely fiber to Theresa & me? This was the stuff we carded when we went to The Fold. (I talked about it on my first podcast.) And yesterday when Theresa came over for a spin-in, I spun it up.
It's so springy! (Theresa showed that aspect off with photos.) And I like to really ply my yarn well -- so it looks almost felted. Very soft too! I have no idea how much I have, but I think I need to knit up a little headband out of it or something.
Well, I need to go pack up some packages. I'm behind after all that tax stuff. . .
In an effort to find some balance, I have been trying to relax a little more and this involved a bit of weekend crafting. First of all, I spun up a bit of some lovely alpaca that I had sitting around for ages. After the CVM fiasco, this stuff was like buttah'! I'm going for a lace weight and hoping to make a shawl with the resulting yarn. It's a gorgeous soft cocoa brown, which may be difficult to discern from my crummy picture.
And I've even been knitting! Shocking, isn't it? This is two pictures of the same thing. On the left with flash on the office floor and on the right with no flash on the radiator below the sunny window. The color is probably somewhere between the two but leans toward the darker picture.
What is this strange balled up mass of yarn? Why it's Morehouse Merino laceweight yarn in some unknown colorway which I purchased at MS&W last year. Now I bought this because of the color, but I didn't like the pattern that came with it. So I thought and thought and cast on and tinked and thought and thought some more. Then I decided I would make Melody.
Now I didn't have the pattern for Melody and I knew I didn't have enough yarn, but I just cast on a bunch of stitches and started knitting and I haven't looked back. This is just how I do things. Sometimes it works (& we don't talk about the other times -- ha ha.)
Speaking of Morehouse Merino, did you know that they have a book coming out? I'm eagerly awaiting it's release! And I'm eagerly awaiting another visit to their booth at this year's MS&W. (Why, yes! I plan on being there again this year. How about you?) Yes, right, back to the book. . .
Looks like it's going to have 40 designs. And I have to tell you that from what I've seen of their patterns, they are just nice simple things that you want and need to knit. Very much looking forward to this one!
And speaking of books. . .
Many have been arriving at the house (some as the unlikely result of a power outage -- may that poor squirrel rest in peace). I need to find time this week to tell you more about them!
That's a skein of California Variegated Mutant, or CVM, that I spun up over the last week. I got this strange stuff at MS&W last year and I remember that it was CVM, but that's about all I remember about it. I think it was dyed with some natural dye or something too. (Norma, are you out there? Didn't you buy a bunch of this too? Do you remember the details?)
So I was kind of excited to spin up this strange stuff. I guess it's rather rare and the wool is supposed to be pretty nice stuff. According to the American Sheep Industry Association the average fiber diameter is 22-25 micron and the staple length is 3-5 inches. Not bad.
Well, the roving I had was, how shall I say, rather less "prepared" than I'm used to. It had quite a bit of VM throughout and there were places where there were clumps of very short fibers. I also thought the fibers were less combed or carded than I'm used to -- plus this particular breed has quite a bit of crimp to it's wool. It just wasn't that pleasant to spin. And I found myself putting more spin into the wool just to keep it together because of the clumps of short fibers.
After plying, the yarn was less than spectacular, but after a bath it softened up quite a bit. There was quite a bit of dirt, VM and dye that came out in the wash -- maybe that helped. Here's a close-up of the finished product after it's bath:
Definitely a learning experience. I'm enjoying spinning up lots of different fibers prepared in different ways. I feel like I'm starting to find out exactly what I like to spin (BFL & Cormo are my two favorites followed by merino if it's blended with something with a bit longer staple length) and how I like it prepared (really well -- maybe this will change over time and I'll be buying a fleece to prepare myself, but I seriously doubt it!)
I would give the CVM another chance if it was prepared in a different manner. Next time I sit down to spin I may try 100% alpaca! There's been some sitting in the stash for ages, but I've been scared to try it.
I did find the wheel of my dreams, but didn't purchase it (a Lendrum black walnut Saxony, for those who are interested). I tried out lots of other wheels too -- mostly because Theresa was looking for a wheel and since she was pulling them all out I had to give them a try too; and I have to say it was a lot of fun. The only wheel I had ever spun on was my Ashford Joy which I purchased through the mail having never spun on a wheel in my life - *gasp*!!
Oh yeah. . . I was going to tell you about the Wensleydale, wasn't I? Well, there wasn't a single solitary skein of Socks that Rock in the entire shop -- can you believe it? I think we hit it right in between the old put up and the new, so maybe that's the problem. I didn't walk away without anything from Blue Moon though! See that gorgeous fiber up top? That's some Wensleydale (so I finally get to the Wensleydale. . . ) in the "Flintstone" colorway. Now I'm very impatient and today I already tore a chunk off and spun it up on the Joy, made a center pull ball and two plied it. Here's the results. . .
The Wensleydale is a handsome sheep with long, lustrous locks. Unlike a BFL or Merino, the wool isn't really all that springy. I would describe it more as a drapey wool and I believe it is used in weaving quite a bit although I saw on some site that it makes lovely, durable socks. Hmmmm. . . .
It was very nice to spin up and reminded me a bit of my experience with Romney, although the Wensleydale is much finer and quite softer. I haven't given my little sample skein it's bath yet, but I'm hoping it will soften up even more with a good washing.
Other goodies were purchased, including some things that should help me to get my loom up and running. My last attempt at weaving was somewhat of a disaster, but I am now armed with Learning to Weave and a woven scarf kit from Blue Moon. I was up late last night reading all about warping the loom -- how exciting!
Guess I better run because I had a bit of BFL on a spool that I quickly plied before spinning up the Wensleydale and I figured, why set the twist when you can set the twist and kool-aid dye at the same time? Well, I just remembered that I threw the skein in a pyrex measuring cup with a couple packets of kool-aid & some hot water about 3 hours ago. Must go see what it looks like!
** Update ** Well, I checked out the kool-aid dyed mini skein of BFL and it's kinda dark pink and very fruity smelling despite *many* rinsings -- some which included soap. The "dye bath" was a super dark red and this is all I get? And every rinsing brings me more bleeding. I tried kool-aid dyeing once before with equally sketchy results. Think I'll stick to the lanaset dyes in the future.
And speaking of spinning (& Amazon actually). . . this arrived today:
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning -- and it is big! It's like a textbook. I can't wait to take a look inside. I've heard it pretty much covers *everything* you would ever need to know about spinning. I've also heard that his style is a bit off-putting to some. We shall see.
Also in the box:
Okay, desperation is a little strong. But what does a knit blogger post when there isn't much to post? Yep, sock-in-progress pics. Here are the Trekking 100's. Now that I'm a soccer mom (yikes!) I've been getting a bit of sock knitting done at the weekly practices.
So why post a sock in progress? It's more that the weather is dark and gloomy -- hence too difficult to get decent pictures -- than a lack of things to show. I do have that "Amazon" colorway spun, plied and washed. And I spun up "Merlot" too. I do have a picture of that:
It's rested for a couple of days on the spindle now, so I should be able to Andean ply it tonight.
I've spent a lot of time reading this past week though. I'm making my way through Eragon and I'm liking it quite well. Sure you can tell he was pretty young when he wrote it, but it's still impressive.
I also picked up a couple of old needle arts books while out thrifting this week. They cover everything from knitting to macrame. I'll try to scan in some pictures later this week!
It's quite cloudy here today, but I think this picture shows the color of this one pretty well. This was colorway 6 and it spun up darker than it looked in the roving. It seems to me that darker colors spin up a bit lighter than I expect and lighter colors spin up darker. Strange. But I like this color! (Must be the inner girly-girl in me!)
I also spun up colorway 5. It's still on the spindle, so it needs to get wound up into a hank and to have it's bubble bath. Pictures later this week!
In book news, I finished HP6 and I loved it! Just as good as all the others in my opinion and I can't wait for the next one. Just the thing when you are looking for some fun, light reading.
Last week I spun up colorway #1 and plied it using the navajo plying technique to preserve the colors. And you can see the stripey goodness in the swatch above. (Here's the post that shows the 3-ply and here's a picture of the un-spun fiber.) I'm pretty happy with it considering this was my least favorite colorway when it came out of the dye pot.
And I have to say that the BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) is as much of a dream to knit as it was to spin. The finished swatch is super soft, silky and even has a bit of drape.
Technical info -- The 3-ply ended up at about 13 wpi for DK weight. I knit it up on US 5's.
In other news. . . I'm homeschooling Maddie and today is our first official day of school! Of course I started a blog for her :) It's called Homeschooling Maddie.
Heh! Just realized this swatch kind matches the cover of HP6!
I wanted to show you a good photograph of the 2 ply I spun up on my Joy last night using colorway #5. I used the tripod, the flash, again with no flash, on the table, on the floor. ARGH! Here's another photo:
The flash gave me too much shine -- BFL is kind of shiny I guess. But I think that between the two photographs, you can get the general idea of what it looks like.
And while I'm listing off resources, I have to tell you that one book that was used quite a bit on dyeing day was:
I've talked about this book before, but I really need to mention it again. It proved itself as a great resource and that's the difference between a good book and a great one in my opinion. So if you are interested in dyeing, I would certainly recommend Deb Menz's Color in Spinning.
Now I'm off to prepare some more pattern orders for shipment! The Carroll Bag is on it's way to lots of yarns shops and will hit the online store some time in the next week!
Last night I spun up half of sample #1 on my drop spindle. I tried to make the singles very fine becasue I knew that this first half was going to be navajo 3-plied. Here's a close-up:
So not what I was expecting! To tell you the truth, this was my least favorite colorway when it came out of the pot. It was striped and very shocking with the saturated greens and yellows. After pre-drafting things really softened up and after the plying -- well, it's a whole different thing! Even with navajo-plying to preserve the colors, there is so much blending that it's almost a heathery solid.
The other half of this colorway will be 2 plied for comparison. Although that might wait while I spin up #5, which has jumped ahead in the standings after all the lovely comments today!
My eyesight isn't very good. In fact, one eye is just awful. So glasses are a must, and right now I find myself eyeglass-less. (New ones broke, old ones were never quite right.) So my usual 1-2 hours of reading before bed have become spinning time. I dug through the big spinning basket and found a sample of Romney Top from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm. It was just 2 oz. that I picked up somewhere. (Michigan Fiber Fest maybe?)
This would not be my spinning fiber of choice simply because it is not all that soft. But man, is it easy to spin! I spun up about 1 oz. on my Golding spindle and it was a breeze. It's a long wool with a nice crimp and the finished yarn has a very nice drape.
Then on the wheel, I have been spinning some lovely soft stuff -- a Merino/Kid Mohair blend. I picked up about 6 oz. of this at The Fold and have been spinning it in bits and pieces over the last few weeks. Can you believe that this greyish-blueish tweedy color came from this:
Now this yarn is very soft and lovely, but I found that the Merino is not nearly as easy to spin as other wools I've tried. I did enjoy spinning it though, and I think it was good practice. Merino is short staple, smooth and slippery -- extremely different from the Romney!
And I know there is a book out there:
In Sheep's Clothing, which gives information on a staggering 100 breeds of sheep! I didn't realize there were so many!
Yesterday Theresa & I had a great time visiting The Fold and ended the evening with a wonderful dinner with our husbands. So it was a good morning for being lazy. Instead of making Pete go out and forage for breakfast as he usually does on Sunday mornings, I decided to mix up some scones. I got some great King Arthur Flour scone mixes from Elaine in trade a while back, and they are really easy and good!
But enough about baked goods, I really need to tell you about The Fold! It was so much better than I ever expected. Tons of fiber (even things like yak and bison?!?) in lots of colors. A good selection of spindles, niddy noddies & lots of wheels. And a whole bunch of nice yarns (which we didn't really have a chance to look at because we were so taken with the fiber!)
I already started to spin up one of my purchases -- some blue merino/kid mohair. I don't think I've ever spun Merino before, so it took a little getting used to, but I really like it. It isn't a solid blue. . .
It's a little bit darker than it looks in the picture. After I ply up some of it I'll post pictures.
And one last thing -- Deanna, from my knitting guild, wanted me to mention the Heartland Knitting Retreat that she is putting together. Annie Modesitt is one of the featured teachers! And Deanna taught the workshop on needle felting at our guild meeting in May which was a lot of fun. The retreat is in December and there is more info at her website.
Tomorrow I will show off my latest Black Sheep Bags design -- the Carroll Bag -- named after my mom.
Since yesterday was super busy and I had no time for crafting (other than the 2 rows I did on my sock in the doctor's waiting room), I am going to re-hash yesterday's pathetic post by putting a new spin on it. I'm going to discuss digital photography. . .
Now I own a Sony DSC-W1, 5.1 mega pixel camera. I love it and it takes much better pictures than my last camera (an HP something or other -- 3 mega pixel, I believe), but I find that I only get *really* good pictures if I use a tripod and the slow speed setting. (I think that's what it's called. It says SL and has the little "flash" lightning bolt after it.) The above picture is taken using that method. For yesterday's shot I didn't use the tripod and you can see the difference!
However, at the top of today's picture you see that I did get a bit of over-exposure. (I'm throwing around photography terms like I know what I'm talking about!) This is a big problem I seem to have with this camera.
But I have been inspired to do better. I read Felicia's blog, Sweet Georgia and her photographs are beautiful! I love looking at her blog. So I am going to aspire to be more like her and I am going to try to work on my photography skills. Anyone know some good online resources for digital photography tips?
And for everyone who asked about the knitting fabric from yesterday -- I got it online from The Virginia Quilter and here is a close-up:
I'm off to get caught up on pattern orders!
Yep, I did some spinning yesterday -- on my wheel. And it's funny that there should be a discussion of plying and balanced yarns on Theresa's blog today because I have been struggling with the same thing.
Yesterday I spun up this yarn, plied it & decided that there wasn't nearly enough twist in the yarn. So I plied it some more -- meaning put more twist into it. The resulting yarn was overly twisty, kinking up on itself. (I should have taken a picture -- doh!) But then came the "setting of the twist."
I let the hank soak in warm soapy water for about 20-25 minutes, then hung it up to dry with a bit of weight hanging from the bottom. This morning it was transformed into what you see above.
Here 's a comparison to show you the difference the plying can make:
On the right is my "old" plying and on the left is the new and improved plying. What a difference!
I have a confession. . . this is my Ashford Joy which hasn't seen the light of day in about a year. *sob* Why? You ask? Well, I bought the wheel early last spring, set it up & started trying to spin. It didn't happen. I couldn't get the hang of it. I don't think I had ever really seen a spinning wheel in action and I didn't even know where to start. Now I had gotten pretty good at using a drop spindle, so I said forget this wheel thing! I'm going back to my spindle!
A year passed. The Joy sat in my room in it's carrying case -- untouched & unloved. Then I went to MS&W. There was so much fiber! And I wanted to take home a huge bag, but I thought to myself -- how will you ever get that spun on your spindle? Oh yeah! I have a wheel! Maybe I should take it out again and give it another try.
I finally had a bit of free time yesterday, so I sat down with some lovely Cormo/Silk roving that I got from Foxhill Farm (at the Cormo booth at MS&W) and gave it a go. After a few mis-starts, I got in the groove and made this little skein. . .
Still a bit uneven (isn't that the whole point of handspinning though?), but much better. Here are a few things that helped me to love my wheel. . .
So there's my confession. I'm glad I got past this and I'm learning to love my wheel. Last night I predrafted the rest of the Cormo/Silk and today I'm ready to spin:
After all, practice makes perfect!
Here's another little skein from the dyeing adventure Theresa & I had a while back. It's from the brown/green/gold roving and it looks better than I expected. After it came out of the steamer, I wasn't too sure about the colors.
Other than that, I've been feverishly working on getting out Black Sheep Bags patterns to lots of yarn shops. I have added lots of new shops to my where to buy page and I'll be adding even more in the next week or two.
And last night I started designing my first lace item. I'm testing out the pattern today and hopefully I'll have pictures next week! I also have a new bag pattern I'm woring on. I need to finish that up and get it in the wash. Whew -- I better go get to work! Have a great weekend and try to stay cool!