Friday, August 27, 2010

More Fiesta Yarn

One of my purchases, at the last fiber festival my friend and I went to, was this beautiful nostepinne. I hadn't really planned on buying a nostepinne, but we found this lovely booth with all kinds of nostepinnes for an excellent price. So we each bought one. The lady who was selling them was horrified to hear that I had been using the cardboard from a food saver roll to make center-pull balls!
I have been very happy with my nostepinne. It is a lot of fun to use, as well as very beautiful to look at. My nostepinne is made out of spaulted birch.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was spinning up some more Fiesta Yarn. I think I like this skein even better than the last! I plied this up yesterday and then set the twist today.

To set the twist I have 2 containers set out, one with hot water, one with cold. First I plunge my skein into the hot water. Being careful not to agitate the yarn, I press it gently into the water, until all the bubbles come up. Then I lift it out and gently squeeze out the water. Do not wring the yarn. Then I plunge it in to the cold water and repeat the process.
After it has been squeezed of water, I thwack it on the counter, once on each end. Then it is hung outside in the sun to dry.

Here are pictures after my Fiesta yarn finished drying.

I saved the setting of the twist on my Fiesta yarn until today so I could show my friend how it was done. She was one of my earliest spinning students. She put her spinning aside for awhile and only recently picked it back up. This is her first skein of yarn, light purple merino. I was quite happy with how well she did on it. The skein is whole 243.85 yards!

I am going to be teaching my friend how to do hand-painting, maybe we'll get to that next week.
The Fibre adventure is filled with all sorts of new and exciting things to learn, and enjoy!
Until next time, my friends!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Misty Morning

Yesterday, while getting some cookies mixed up, I looked out the window and saw this lovely scene:
It was too beautiful a sight to not capture. I ran grabbed my camera, turned the no-bake cookies down on low, and went outside to snap a picture.

But one thing led to the next and I completely forgot that I had cookies on the stove.

Dew on a spider web.

Pepper Leaf

Butterfly Bush.
To finish my story, the cookies did survive. They were just a tad over-cooked. I'm glad I went outside when I did, the perfect lighting only lasted for a few minutes.

The Day's Bounty

Hello Everyone!
These are the tomatoes that we picked one day this week! We have been getting approximately 200 cherry tomatoes almost every day.
I'm not a big fan of the taste of the Yellow Pear tomatoes, I find them a little too meaty. But they are very pretty to look at.

This is the first year that we have grown Red Zebra tomatoes. I have yet to taste them, but they look marvelous.

Yesterday I started spinning up some more Fiesta yarn. Each skein of Fiesta yarn is uniquely different. I love the way this one is turning out.

This is how far my yarn got as of last night.

Isn't it beautiful? I am going to do a little bit more spinning on my fiesta yarn once I am done blogging. With Christmas drawing near I won't be able to blog about everything I am working on, but I'll do my best to keep my blog supplied with other interesting projects.
In the near future I am going to teach a friend how to do some hand-painting. We both purchased some un-dyed merino roving at a fiber festival we went to. I'm looking forward to hand-painting again.
That about covers my projects for now.
Until next time, cheerio my friends!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Seaweed~ My Hand-Painted Yarn

Greetings my friends! It's good to be back with you! I had a wonderful holiday last week, the week didn't fly by (like Holidays normally do) which was nice. At some point I might put up some photos, but not right away. Getting back into my usual routine after being gone always takes me a little bit of time. I normally don't unpack for a few days. And the day or two after I am back I feel a little bit lost and not quite sure what to do with myself. But this last weekend my cousin and Grandma were over for a visit and having visitors kind of threw me back in to the swing of things.

Tuesday my brother and I went on a 4 1/2 hr. kayak trip. I have not been kayaking in quite some time, so a 4 1/2 hour trip was probably a little ambitious. But we had a wonderful time. I didn't take my camera because I didn't have a waterproof container for it. The scenery along the way was stunning. It was a beautiful day for kayaking, sunny, not too hot, and with a gentle breeze. While we were gliding down the river, I noticed the seaweed (not sure what the technical term is, but we'll call it seaweed) that was streaming along along with the river's current. It had tall, long-ish leaves and was all sorts of beautiful colors. We picked out the main colors which were shades of green, chartreuse, yellow, and a mauve-ish pink color. I really wanted to dye a roving in those colors. If passersby knew why we were studying the river bed they probably would have thought we were crazy! :)

Yesterday I had the opportunity to over-dye this skein of yarn. It is a skein I had spun previously but wasn't completely happy with the color. Well, I am happy with it now! I had never hand-painted a skein before, until yesterday. I did some research on hand-painting and found a few different techniques that I could use. I tried the one that I liked best and loved the results. I couldn't wait to take pictures of it!

I used my Greener Shades Dyes for this skein. I love using the Greener Shades dyes because they are a safe, non-toxic dyes that are colorfast and dye up in beautiful colors. It is a good thing I did this skein just 2 days after kayaking because the colors were still fresh in my memory. After rinsing the yarn and then drying it, I couldn't believe how close the colors were to the actual seaweed we saw in the bottom of the river. Or perhaps instead of "seaweed" it should be called "river weed".
I am so excited to use this hand-painted skein, although I have no idea what I will use it for yet!

This week I also kettle-dyed these mini skeins of yarn. They were previously dyed with Wilton Food Dyes, but I discovered that when they were exposed to the sunlight for a certain number of hours they faded considerably. I didn't want to make up the Composed Mitts (which are fair isle color work) and and then have my colors all fade out. So I over-dyed all the little skeins.

Now I have all these vibrant colors just itching to be knit up.I can't start on the mitts yet because I haven't finished spinning the main color, which is a chocolate brown.

Besides the chocolate brown wool, my other spinning project is some of my hand-painted corriedale roving. I finished knitting up the Prairie Rose Lace Shawl, designed by Evelyn Clark, from the "Knitter's Book of Wool" I don't have a completed picture for you yet, but I will soon. It needs to be blocked, but I have yet to get my blocking mats. I couldn't put the shawl down while on holiday, I loved knitting it!
But back to my spinning. I had so much fun knitting up that shawl with my handspun corriedale, that I decided to spin up some more and knit another one. that is probably what the Violet Dawn Yarn will turn into. Unless I change my mind somewhere along the way!

I know my blog has been only about knitting and spinning the last few post, mainly because I am always pressed for time. I would like to share more outdoor & plant life pictures in the future like I used to do.
But for now, here are some of the tomatoes that the family picked last night. We have SO many tomatoes. The other night we went out and picked almost 300 cherry tomatoes! So I foresee lots of canning in the future. As well as making some tomato jam. It's been years since I had tomato jam and I am looking forward to it.
Well, I need to run. I will be going to a fiber festival in the near future so should have lots of interesting things to show you all next time.
Until then, have a pleasant day!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tearing Back, While On Holiday

I am finally making time do a bit of blogging! I haven't accomplished a whole lot that would even make for an interesting post. Life has been a little busy while on holiday. However I have availability to wireless access and am taking the opportunity to touch base with my friends in the blogging world.
I haven't got anywhere on my tunic in awhile. I had to set it aside for a bit. But I brought it on the trip and have been working on it.

Here is the back, which I finished about a month ago. I was measuring the front the other night and found that it didn't line up with the back. I put it all away because I didn't want to deal with the headache so late in the evening. But today I laid it out on the table, measured, re-measured and found that I made a serious mistake somewhere on the upper portion of the back. I finally found it. Looks like I stopped mid-row, for who knows how long, then I started back in going the wrong way on my row! So one side is a little too long and the other side is a little too short. I am not going to tear it back though until I finish the front.
Here is the roving that I dyed up, and then spun to a fingering-weight yarn this summer. It is my beautiful Ocean Splendor yarn!

And check out the gorgeous pottery! I love it when I have new items to use for props. This stunning pottery was handmade by a gal in the household here. Such talent!

I love pottery.

Here is what I am making with the Ocean Splendor Yarn: Prairie Rose Lace Shawl designed by Evelyn Clark. The pattern is from the Knitter's Book of Wool. I love this pattern because it is so easy, and is knitting up very quickly. It does help that I am using Addi Turbo needles, it goes SO fast! I can actually work on it while watching a DVD!

It is an interesting and rewarding experience knitting a project with yarn that I have hand-dyed and hand-spun on a drop spindle. Notice the subtle striping going on. Sigh. I love it. :) 4 more lace repeats, then a border and edging before I am done.
Alright, things to do now. I am going to sign off and do some more knitting!
Take care everyone!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Setting Off On Holiday!

Hello Everyone! I hope you are having the loveliest of days! I am sneaking in one more quick post before heading of on holiday, as our friends in some parts of Europe say. I find "holiday" a FAR more interesting word than "vacation". Actually I might get a chance to blog while on holiday, but we"ll see. My holiday involves a long road trip, spending time with friends, meeting new people, and who knows what else! I am looking forward to it.
I started this yarn at the beginning of summer, but it has been languishing in a corner 'cause I wasn't looking forward to plying so many yards. But I split it up into skeins and that made it so much easier. The bigger skein is about 230yards and the smaller skein is 105yards. Both are a heavy worsted weight.
I still have some of this yarn to ply, just a tiny amount. And then some plied yarn on my Navajo to wind off. I was going to do it all on my navajo spindle, but I wanted to get it done before my trip so I switched to my big plying spindle.

And this is pretty exciting.....mohair I spun! This is from the batt that I carded and then dyed in the beginning of July. I tried to spin it up very fine, but I don't have a lace-weight spindle so it is a little tricky. It's only 95yds of fingering weight.

But look at that lovely halo! To be frank, I really didn't enjoy spinning this up as much as I have other fiber. But I think it was because I was trying to spin so very thin on a heavy spindle. It wasn't the fault of the fiber itself.
I did have fun brushing it though, to bring out the halo. I was rather fierce in my brushing, but I think it turned out quite well.
I have been doing some reading on commercially spun mohair. Rarely will you buy mohair yarn that is pure mohair. Due to the properties of mohair it often is plied with nylon thread, silk or merino wool. It is often quite difficult for hand spinners to produce mohair that looks like the commercial spun stuff (not that that is necessarily a bad thing). Mainly because of the rate at which they spin it, and the type of machinery involved for brushing etc. If you want an interesting read on different types of yarn and why they behave the way they do, check out
The Knitter's Book of Yarn.
I have learned many interesting things about fiber and yarn from both The Knitter's Book of Yarn, and also the
Knitter's Book of Wool.
I think it would be of immense help to any hand spinner to read these in-depth. Even though they are not written for handspinners, per se, they are wonderful tools to use.

But on to more knitting.... My birthday shawl is finished!!!! I am so glad to have it done, but also a little sad because I really enjoyed working on it. I had some trouble with the last three rows. I made a mistake somewhere and had to tear them out. So I ended up putting stitch markers between every pattern repeat. It made everything much easier and kept me on track. The crochet bind off is a little tedious but well worth the effort in the end.

I haven't blocked it yet, but I didn't want to wait until after Holiday to show this to you. Buddy insisted on getting in the photo shoot. He tried to sit on the shawl, and sprawled here and there in a charming manner, but in attitudes that entirely rumpled my knitting. I finally agreed to let him lay just his head on my shawl. I think he was pleased. And who could resist that sweet face?

I think one of my favorite things about this shawl (besides the fact that it is green) is the feminine ruffle on the edge. It is so lovely!

Well, that is one large lace project behind me. But I already have two more in the planning stages. One will be using some of my handspun, and the other will be with more birthday yarn from 2 years ago.
I'm debating whether or not I should take any lace knitting with me. Because every now and then holidays have tedious moments that are perfect for complicated lace charts.
I am taking my tunic, I need to get back to work on it and finish the front. Other than that and a spinning project I don't know for sure what is going with me. Some mindless knitting for the scenery stretches on the road.
I'll tell you all about it when I get back, or possibly while I am gone! For now though I must run, supper is on the the table and I have a lot to get accomplished yet tonight.
Have a lovely week!