Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spinning & A Book Review

Lately I have been doing quite a bit of spinning. It has been wonderful to be able to be back to spinning and able to work on my projects every day, even if it is only for a few minutes. 
The above yarn is one of the 1 ounce samplers that I dyed up. This one is currently on the back burner as I work on the following project. I should just hurry and finish it up. It takes hardly any time to spin and ply 1 ounce. But my interest has wandered to a different project (*blushes*) and there my sample sits, neglected in the bowl on the bookcase....

This is the project that is currently consuming my spinning moments. I have a special plan for it and I can not wait to reveal my idea to you! Right now I am spinning the darker tones in this roving. It is Merino wool, and so very bouncy! I am doing a little better getting it the weight I want it. 

I finished spinning and plying this yarn. I just realized that I did not show you any in-progress photos. It is such a unique mix of colors, I have no idea what I will do with it yet. For now it has joined the other three on display on the piano.

Several weeks ago I collected my holds from the library. I stumbled across this book, Hand-Stitched Felt, somewhere in blogland and saved a picture of it to my phone to order. I was so delighted with it that I have decided to do a quick review for you before I send it back to the library. Which it is probably overdue now.... ehem.

First off, the cover! Aren't these finger puppets the sweetest things! I love the different expressions on their faces. They all have such individuality and character.

The book has lots of pictures, many adorable hand-drawn diagrams & patterns, and all instructions seem to be clear and concise.

Look at this sweet little rabbit! I think it would make a nice addition to a little boy's room. There is also a girl rabbit version. But the overalls on this little gentleman were just too cute, I had to share this picture.

Patchwork Potholder
I am an avid letter writer and this Stationery Pouch would be just the thing for traveling, or simply going outdoors to write a letter. I know plenty of other letter writers who would also appreciate this pouch.

A Fetching Portfolio is on my list of things to make, as soon as I have that much felt on hand! I would do different colors, but the overall idea is brilliant. There is even a hard mat board sandwiched inside to keep papers from bending. This would be perfect for letters, writings, stories, drawings, paintings.... the possibilities are practically endless.
Personally I would probably use it for my watercolour paintings. I've wanted a portfolio ever since I saw the one in the movie, Miss Potter

Everyday Journals are sweet little notebooks perfect for chronicling memories, sketching a photo, writing down notes...

Patchwork Potholder I like the rustic look of these, the scrappy pieces, big stitches. A set of these would make lovely Christmas gifts for all the cooks in the family. 

The Stuffed Animal Family is a lovely gathering of mice, dogs, and rabbits. Their little outfits can be changed in a multitude of ways, depending on color and what stitches and embellishments are used. I think the little dresses would look so sweet with embroidered flowers on the bottom. At 11 inches high they are a good sized stuffed animal, I was surprised by how big they are! From the picture I was imagining they would be much smaller.

These are just a few of the 25 projects withing this charming book! I hope this little glimpse of Kate Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt book will inspire you to pick up the felt & embroidery floss and start sewing! I know it inspired me. Now I just need to find a good source for nice wool felt. 

Happy Sewing, my friends! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Halfway Down

"Halfway Down"
by A.A. Milne

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up,
And isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
"It isn't really
It's somewhere else

*** "Halfway Down" was taken from When We Were Very Young, by A.A. Milne.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Just A little Bit Of Handspinning

Hello my friends! It is good to be back with you. Today I had occasion to drive through some very pretty countryside that I do not normally see so early in the morning. There were so many opportunities for photos, and had I not been on a time schedule I would have stopped multiple times. When I first set out there was mist rising off of the ponds and lying low in the hollows. The landscape looked so pretty in the early morning sunlight.

I did take the time to stop and snap a picture of this barn. I've always liked the setting it is in; winter, spring, summer, autumn, storm or shine, it always looks lovely.

There were a few cows loitering in and around the barn, and they stopped their munching to stare lazily at me for a moment, before going back to eating their breakfast.

Add caption
And now on to the hand spinning. Remember last time I showed you several spindles with spun singles?  Well these are the completed skeins of yarn. They were all spun as a single, wound into a  center-pull ball on my nostepinne , then the ends were plied together to make a two-ply yarn. The yarn weight is probably a light worsted, I have not checked the wraps per inch yet so that is just a rough guess. I find that since I was not spinning as much this past spring, I seem to be a little rusty when it comes to spinning certain weights. Or perhaps I am just not used to how this merino behaves. It seems to fluff up a great deal when it is plied and the twist is set.
 I wrote down the formulas for all these colorways and I hope to be able to successfully duplicate them in the future. These are all the 1 ounce samplers.



Even though I dyed some colors I might not normally like, I find that I liked everything I dyed, simply because each roving was a lengthy process and became a work of art. Thus it is with each yarn, there are certain colors I might not usually pick, but the fact that I dyed the roving makes the yarn quite fascinating to me. Each is a work of art and I find that I can display them for quite awhile before I feel inclined to knit anything with them. Currently these three yarns are in a decorative bowl on the piano.

On another note, the previous post I did was my 200th post! I was quite astonished to realize that. 
Perhaps it is time for another giveaway! I'll keep you posted. 

For now, take care and have a lovely day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Catching Up: Fiber Updates

 Hello Everyone! It has been far to long since I was here with you. This beginning of this summer started with a bang and I feel like I have been going, going, going, non stop. As of yet, things have only slowed up a little. But it looks as if things should calm down soon. 

A few weeks ago I was a vendor in a fiber festival. The weeks leading up to the festival were very busy for me. I was unable to pick my fiber that I needed to dye until quite late, and then we went on a family Holiday. So by the time I got home, and had free time to spare, the festival was only two weeks away! I amassed all my supplies and took a day to mix up my dye stock. Then I started dyeing!

 It took almost a week to kettle dye and hand paint 14.5 pounds of Merino wool. Initially I did not even think I would get it all done, though I was hoping too!
I dropped into bed exhausted at the end of each dye day, tired of steam, vinegar and standing all day. But every morning I was ready to get back at it and as each successive dye day dawned, I would have all sorts of fresh ideas rolling around my head of color combinations, techniques and other ideas I wanted to try. It was interesting to see how color-wise on some days there seemed to be a common theme, and other days it was all higgledy-piggledy.  It was such a fun process and I enjoyed myself tremendously.  If I could dye fiber two or three days a week, every week, that would be happiness indeed. It is a wonderful creative outlet and there is no limit to the what you can do with a little bit of no-how and some practice.

 I use the Greener Shades Dyes to dye all my fiber. All of the colors, other then the Coral Reef Aqua, are non-toxic and do not contain any heavy metals. It was the safety of these dyes that attracted me to them. They still are made up of chemicals, but they are much safer for you then many dyes. I do all my dyeing in the family kitchen, and I do not want to inadvertently harm someone with my dye solutions. I use regular white vinegar as a mordant, but for some of the colors it would be better to use citric acid, especially for the Coral Reef Aqua. I am still a little nervous about using the Aqua, but I am just careful when I measure it out, and I wear gloves and clean up thoroughly after each batch. But back to the citric acid. I need to find somewhere to buy it in bulk, because for certain colors and mixtures I find I like the results best with the citric acid. 

 At the fiber festival I picked up another half ounce of Sunshine Yellow. I discovered I use this color the most with my mixtures, I ran out of my yellow on the last dye day! River Blue runs a close second, I'll have to restock on that one soon. I was gifted the lovely red bamboo and merino roving show above. And the purple and green merino roving was what I received in the Vendor-to-Vendor Swap. I always like doing the vendor swap. It is fun to prepare a little bag of goodies to enter, and equally fun to see what you receive in return. 

 Despite the busyness of life, I have found time to do quite a but of spinning in the last few weeks. I have been spinning up some of my little half ounce samples of colors I plan on repeating. And I have also been working on some of my 1oz sampler rovings as well. The above picture is a half ounce.
Half ounce

1 ounce Lagoon

My Mum is spinning this roving up. Aren't the colors wonderful? 

1 ounce Orchid

I have finished yarn waiting to be photographed. If it is a nice day outside tomorrow I'll have to take the skeins out and take some pictures. I have been spinning on one of my smaller drop spindles. It still has a fairly thick whorl though, so it is a good weight for what I am doing. I am trying to spin all of these samples up at a similar weight, that way if I wan to use them together in a project I can. 

Well it is late, and I have lots more to update you on but I am quite tired, so farewell for now ,my dear readers!